Feeling frisky and ready for romance? Well, I have a few good suggestions for foods that are not only good for you but also tasty treats that will enhance any night (or day) of romance. In my observation, there are several categories of foods that qualify as “romantic,” or enhance a romantic moment. First, and obviously, are the ones that resemble parts of the anatomy associated with sex and love like bananas, asparagus, and avocados (think about it). Or moist, voluptuous foods like oysters and figs.
Then there are the foods that provide so much nutrition and feeling of well-being that they contribute to one’s libido. Dark chocolate is the leader in this category. And surprisingly, watermelon and chilies. All these foods have admirable nutrition as well as endorphins that can create a sense of euphoria.
Foods that are shared also enhance a romantic mood. Think about steamed artichokes and dipping the tender leaves in luscious melted butter. Or strawberries, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, dipped in dark chocolate fondue.
Most all these foods overlap these categories, providing superb nutrition, setting the mood, and enhancing the bond between you and that special person.
Here’s a rundown on the properties and benefits of certain foods that make them suited to setting the scene for romance for Valentine’s Day or any time.
Throughout antiquity, almonds were synonymous with fertility. The aroma of almonds supposedly aroused passion in women, according to ancient poets and writers. Almonds do provide high doses of vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber. Nitric oxide found in almonds helps to increase blood flow, boost energy levels, and increase nerve cell responses.
Tough on the outside but tender at the very center, Greek mythology says Zeus was responsible for the artichoke’s creation. After being rejected by a beautiful young woman, the god turned his object of affection into a thorny and difficult thistle. In the 16th Century, women were not allowed to eat artichokes. It would be scandalous because artichokes were considered an aphrodisiac. Besides the intimate, sharing aspect of artichokes, they assist the liver in removing toxins from your body, they’re high in fiber, help balance the total cholesterol levels in the blood, and are high in antioxidants.
Herbalists in the 14th century believed that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman.” It’s suggested that French bridegrooms in the 19th century were served asparagus at their prenuptial dinners. Asparagus is a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid which improves the male and female libido.
I love the combination of white and green asparagus in a salad, but if you can’t find white asparagus, just make this salad with all green asparagus. White asparagus is a sophisticated treat that’s not always available. Red butter lettuce or other colorful greens make the salad more festive. Red butter lettuce is stunning and contains 10 percent of the daily requirement for iron.
10 spears slim green asparagus, ends trimmed
10 spears white asparagus peeled, ends trimmed
½ package pre-washed red butter lettuce or other salad greens
Parmesan cheese shavings for garnish
3 Tbs. whole grain mustard
1 Tbs. honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, diced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Packed with folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and potassium, these nutrients in avocados help the body’s production of sex hormones testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which circulate in the blood stream and stimulate sexual responses. The Aztec name for the avocado, ahuacuatl, means ‘testicle tree’. The perfect example of a food that has the goods AND looks the part.
Aside from their phallic shape, bananas are rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s key to muscle strength. They’re also loaded with magnesium, B vitamins, and contain minerals and enzymes said to enhance male libido.
Well known to trigger endorphins that can raise your energy, boost your mood, and give you a natural high, which is due to capsaicin, a compound within chilis that can stimulate blood flow and increase the heart rate, as well as invigorate your metabolism.
Especially the dark kind, chocolate has been proven to increase production of dopamine, commonly known as the “pleasure chemical.” Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a compound that releases the same endorphins we experience during sex. For best results, go for 70% dark chocolate.
The unexpected heat of the chili in the rich chocolate is unforgettable!
½ cup double cream
½ small, fresh red chili, seeded and finely minced
6 oz. dark chocolate (70% cacao)
¼ lb. fresh strawberries
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
½ papaya, cut into spears or chunks
1 tangerine, peeled and segmented
Figs have been a symbol of passion and fertility for thousands of years. They are sweet, delectable, and can help promote healthy digestion. Their fiber content may also help manage blood glucose levels. No one feels romantic with indigestion or when their energy level drops. Figs are also high in antioxidants that protect cells and calcium that supports bone health .
The National Library of Medicine reports that fresh-cut ginger is an effective nervous system and circulatory stimulant. Gingerol is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory chemical, which contributes to ginger’s health benefits.
Honey contains the trace mineral, boron, which helps the body access estrogen, the female sex hormone. It’s also a good source of high vitamin B, which is said to enhance testosterone, the hormone responsible for boosting the sex drive in men and women. Use organic raw honey for the best results.
The classic aphrodisiac (and superfood!), oysters are high in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, packed with vitamin B12, copper, and zinc, a mineral that is known to boost sperm production and increase sexual desire. It’s also the intimate way in which oysters have to be ‘slurped’ that gets us in the right mood. Half a dozen oysters and a glass of chilled champagne—what could be more romantic?
There’s the chocolate kind and the fungus type hunted by specially trained dogs and pigs. Though both are romantic foods, let’s talk about the latter. It’s the umami quality of truffles that makes them so exceptional. That rich, earthy, complex, almost garlicky flavor that is magic. Truffles are also wildly expensive—they can be over $1,500 per pound! But there’s nothing quite like them and a very little goes a long way—just a few shavings over creamy scrambled eggs or mashed potatoes and you’ll both be in heaven. You can purchase them online and they keep a long time properly stored. Or you can purchase truffle infused olive oil at specialty import stores for as little as $10 per 4 oz. Truffles are high in antioxidants, have antibacterial properties, and contain protein.
Here’s another splurge item that says, ‘I love you.’ This is the famously pampered beef that was developed in the Kobe region of Japan. American Wagyu beef is the result of crossbreeding Japanese Wagyu with high-quality European cattle breeds. American Wagyu beef is prized because of its intense marbling and high percentage of oleaginous, intramuscular, unsaturated fat. The name Kobe is reserved exclusively to describe cattle raised in Kobe, Japan.
With a main ingredient this special, the simpler the better.
Season several hours before cooking with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Watermelon contains a phytonutrient called citrulline, which causes blood vessels to relax and circulation to speed up in much the same way as Viagra. Watermelons are also a great source of antioxidants that will help to improve your overall wellbeing, which helps put you in the mood.