Oysters. Chocolate. Sushi. We’ve heard these foods are aphrodisiacs, perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day with your significant other, but do these foods really put you in the mood? If so, how does it work? How many servings do I need to eat to reap the benefits?
If you google, “aphrodisiac foods” you’ll find a few commonalities in your search, but my question wasn’t so much what foods, but rather how? Rather than breaking it down “food by food”, I have decided to explain the nutrients responsible for these popular mood boosting qualities.
- D-aspartic acid (D-Asp) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) are two amino acids that have been tested and shown to increase testosterone in men and progesterone in women which when elevated increase libido.
- This is where Oysters come into play and have been a popular choice for a romantic evening. Although most protein rich foods contain amino acids, raw oysters have concentrated amounts and also have vitamin b12 and zinc which you are soon to read have other “feel-good” nutrients.
Vitamin B12 and Magnesium
- Effective for enlarging blood vessels which helps with blood flow which can help to prevent erectile dysfunction. High quality sources of vitamin b12 are found in animal protein and magnesium is found in dried beans and legumes, so adopting the flexitarian way of eating might not be a bad idea ;-).
Zinc & Bromelain
- These component can help to increase testosterone in males and can be found in pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, pine nuts, bananas and pineapples. All of which make for an excellent snack to have right before your special dinner reservations!
- Consuming antioxidant rich foods on a regular basis has been correlated with normal sex hormones in the body, leading us to believe that these foods actually defend the other foods that may cause a decrease in libido. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Lycopene is another antioxidant that relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation, which can be found in the red flesh of watermelons and tomatoes.
- These antioxidant rich foods have been labeled as “super foods” because they tend to have more than one of the vitamins listed above. Foods that contain a combination of these nutrients include:
- Dark leafy greens like arugula
- Sweet potatoes
- Pomegranate seeds
- Spices like ginger and cinnamon
- Certain foods, like chocolate can aid in the release of dopamine in the brain which regulates our emotional response to seek pleasure. This explains why giving chocolate around Valentine’s Day has been “the status quo”. However you may want to be careful of the simple sugars in chocolate since you’ll likely come down from that feeling shortly after. Dark chocolate (contains 70% cocoa or more) will provide the dopamine boost you need, without the sugar crash later. It is also packed with antioxidants which we just learned can help to defend foods that decrease libido.
- Caffeine can act as a stimulant to increase your heart rate and desire to perform, but similar to too much sugar, too much caffeine can cause a crash later. If you’re sensitive to caffeine you may want to just limit your consumption to 6 ounces of coffee or tea per day.
- If you haven’t noticed so far, a lot of these foods support a healthy heart by aiding in improvement of blood flow. Therefore I was not surprised to learn that olive oil was on the list due to the high levels of mono/polyunsaturated (good/healthy) fats that studies continue to prove support a healthy heart. However I was surprised to learn that these healthy fats also help to improve hormone production in men and women!
- Excessive sodium intakes over time may lead to hypertension (chronic high blood pressure), which effects blood flow and may lead to erectile dysfunction. One way to reduce your risk of hypertension is to limit processed foods and use salt-free seasonings when cooking. Another way is to consume potassium rich foods. So if you consume potassium rich foods on a regular basis, your likelihood of developing high blood pressure decreases which means men are less likely to suffer from the consequences. Potassium rich foods include potatoes, bananas, avocado, soy beans/tofu, and tomatoes.
After reading this article or watching the video, you have learned there are a variety of foods that can help put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day. But as you know, consuming a food one time really isn’t going to change much. Consuming these foods on a regular basis will not only get you excited to get closer to your significant other, but it will also help regulate your hormones, support a healthy heart, and defend chronic diseases. If you’re struggling to figure out ways to consistently incorporate nutrient dense foods in your diet, send an e-mail to TipsWithToni@gmail.com to see if I can help you!
Looking to spice it up in the bedroom? Combine these foods in a 3-course meal for your Valentine’s Day date:
Appetizer: Oysters or a salmon sushi roll.
Dinner: Arugula salad with avocado, tomato, pine nuts, artichoke hearts, dried tart cherries, and hard boiled eggs drizzled with olive oil.
Dessert: Chai tea and dark chocolate covered strawberries.