FALLBROOK – The official day for love and romance, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for a special meal, whether enjoyed at a local restaurant or at home. In keeping with expressing feelings of affection, many might be interested to know which foods are considered aphrodisiacs.
People have enjoyed foods purported to be aphrodisiacs for centuries. Believed to boost the libido, aphrodisiacs were enjoyed by Cleopatra and Casanova, and they were commonly used among ancient Greeks.
Aphrodisiacs are agents that work on the mind and body to increase desire. Foods affect the body in different ways and can have a positive impact on how a person feels. Certain foods can help promote feelings of intimacy, increase blood flow, and create euphoria. They can also be very beneficial to a person’s overall nutrition.
Here are some purported aphrodisiacs that can be incorporated into special dinners with a sweetheart.
• Almonds: This nut has been regarded as a fertility symbol through the years. While it has been said almond aroma can incite passion, there is no concrete proof. Still, almonds are a good source of essential fatty acids and important B vitamins that can help prevent coronary artery disease.
• Asparagus: This vegetable may inspire desire in men and women, but it also is a good source of various vitamins. Asparagus is a member of the lily family that is nutrient-dense, containing folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, and thiamin.
• Bananas: Potassium is a key nutrient for muscle strength. Healthy muscles lead to a healthy life overall.
• Chocolate: It’s no secret that chocolate and romance have often gone hand-in-hand and there is a very good reason for that. Chocolate contains the chemical phenylethylamine, a stimulant that releases dopamine and produces feelings of well-being and excitement.
• Figs: This sweet fruit has been revered as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years. In many cultures, figs are considered to be a symbol of fertility. Figs are very high in fiber and have a higher mineral profile than any other fruit or vegetable.
• Hot peppers: Chili peppers and others that contain capsaicin help to increase circulation and stimulate nerve endings. A spicy meal may lead to other spicy behaviors.
• Oysters: This shellfish is one of the better-known aphrodisiacs. However, not every person finds seafood palatable. Oysters are high in zinc, the mineral known to increase libido. Therefore, it stands to reason that other foods high in zinc might be just as effective at inspiring romantic notions.
• Pomegranates: This fruit owes its power to the antioxidants within. Antioxidants help protect the lining of blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow through and increasing sensitivity around the body.
• Salmon: This pink fish is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids that aid in the production of key hormones in the body, including estrogen and testosterone.
The majority of the items listed above can be food included on many entrees available at Fallbrook-area restaurants or can be integrated into a special home-cooked Valentine’s meal.