13 Aphrodisiac Foods to Put You in the Mood

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13 Aphrodisiac Foods to Put You in the Mood

By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer

When selecting recipes for your Valentine's Day celebration, you might want to consider more than just taste preferences. If you want to feel friskier, add one or more of these reputed aphrodisiacs to the menu. While many of these foods' powers are rooted solely in lore and ancient tradition, they are mostly whole foods, with plenty of nutrition to offer. Don't consider these 13 ingredients to be a prescription for a better love life or anything that ails you, but do check out the delicious recipes that showcase them!

Almonds

As far back as 100 AD, the ancient Romans gave newlyweds almonds as a fertility charm. In modern times, we know that their heart-healthy fats, vitamin E and potassium will help protect your ticker. Try them in sweet and savory dishes for added crunch and sweetness. (Sweet almond oil makes a great massage oil, too!)

Try these recipes:
Almond Chicken Salad with Asparagus
Cranberry-Almond Oatmeal Cookies
Green Beans with Balsamic, Onions and Almonds


Asparagus

Asparagus has been used as an aphrodisiac since the ancient Roman era, and in 19th century France, grooms ate three courses of the amorous vegetables at their prenuptial dinner. The famed mistress of French King Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour, reportedly consumed the delicate spears' tips, which were called points d'amour (love tips). While we know that the brain rather than the heart controls love, the potassium in asparagus does help control heart activity. Keep it simple to let these spears shine. Broil, steam or roast them until tender and lightly season.

Try these recipes:
Chicken & Asparagus Pasta
Broiled Asparagus
Asparagus Salad with Lemon Soy Vinaigrette


Avocados

From the Mayan era through to the 19th century, avocados have been considered an aphrodisiac. Farmers even locked away their daughters during harvest time, lest they be seduced due to the fruit's powers. Today avocados are prized for their heart-healthy fats. Guacamole is the #1 way to enjoy them, but you can also add their creaminess to sandwiches or chili.

Try these recipes:
Avocado Hummus
Bean, Corn, & Avocado Salad
Coach Nicole's Fresh Guacamole


Bananas

In addition to their suggestive shape, bananas are chock full of B vitamins and potassium, both of which are essential in sex hormone production. Zinc also strengthens the senses--especially taste and smell. Bananas lighten up baked goods, making your Valentine's Day treats less sinful.

Try these recipes:
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Banana Bread
Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Black Pepper

The oil in black pepper dilates blood vessels and warms up the skin when applied topically. Sprinkle a generous amount on your food and things will heat up!

Try these recipes:
Black Pepper Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry
Peppercorn Steak with Herbed Blue Cheese
Rich & Creamy Green Onion-Peppercorn Ranch Dressing


Chocolate

Dark chocolate improves mood by boosting the brain chemical serotonin. Chocolate contains theobromine (which stimulates the heart and the nervous system) and phenyethylamine (an amphetamine-like substance said to simulate the feeling of falling in love). A University of Michigan study says chocolate causes the brain to release b-endorphin, a naturally occurring chemical similar to opium, which dulls pain and increases your sense of well-being. And, it just tastes good! Enjoy it as is or in a decadent dessert... after all, it is Valentine's Day!

Try these recipes:
Single Serving Chocolate Brownie
Flourless Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Raspberries
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cake


Cinnamon

Sweet and spicy cinnamon is used in traditional Eastern medicine because of its warming qualities. Applied topically, products containing cinnamon oil can really heat things up! Add cinnamon to your sweet dishes, and your sweetheart will thank you.

Try these recipes:
Chocolate Cinnamon Bread Pudding
Baked Cinnamon Apples
Apple-Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips


Figs

The ancient Greeks considered figs to be symbols of love and fertility, but we like these adorable little fruits for their potassium levels, which help lower blood pressure. Sweet and bursting with flavor when ripe, serve figs with strong cheese or salty ham for a delightful contrast.

Try these recipes:
Grilled Pork Chops with Grape and Fig Chutney
Caramelized Figs with Port-Balsamic Glaze
Prosciutto-Stuffed Figs


Hot Peppers

The capsaicin that gives peppers their heat also increases circulation and stimulates nerve endings. And once the heat mellows, your body releases feel-good endorphins, too. Add a pepper or two to your favorite recipe, and keep milk or yogurt on hand to cool things down.

Try these recipes:
Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Oysters

Slurping down oysters is a slightly cliché aphrodisiac, but the zinc these mollusks contain increases testosterone production, which can lead to a stronger libido. If raw oysters is not appealing to you (consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness), try oyster sauce or canned oysters in your recipes instead.

Try these recipes:
Oysters Rockefeller
Chinese Broccoli Stir Fried in Oyster Sauce
Oyster Stew


Red Wine

A glass of red wine is packed with antioxidants, including resveratrol, which increases blood flow and boosts circulation. Pour yourself a glass or add it to a favorite recipe to add body and richness.

Try these recipes:
Chicken Breasts with Red Wine Sauce
Sauerkraut with Red Wine and Onions
Chicken Marsala


Salmon

Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which--in addition to keeping your ticking working properly--dilates blood vessels. This rich fish is easy to cook and requires minimal seasoning or prep work.

Try these recipes:
Grilled Salmon with Herbs
Mediterranean Salmon with Pasta
Honey-Glazed Salmon


Strawberries

The tiny seeds of strawberries were long thought to symbolize fertility, and with its heart shape and red color, is a symbol of the love goddess Venus. According to legend, if you split a "double strawberry" with someone, you'll fall in love! Try the classic strawberries and champagne combo, or whip up a "berry" sweet or savory dish.

Try these recipes:
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Angel Food Cake with Strawberries
Grilled Fruit with Strawberry Dip

Selected Sources

10 Maya foods that changed the world's eating habits

http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/food/article/10-Maya-foods-that-changed-the-world-s-eating-891274.php#page-2

The Food Timeline

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodfaq2.html

Making History

http://www.almondboard.com/CONSUMER/ABOUTALMONDS/Pages/HistoryofAlmonds.aspx

Strawberries & More; History & Lore

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/strawberries/history.cfm

Purchon, Nerys. 2006. The Essential Natural Healthy Bible. Millennium House: Australia.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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PMSLIVES

2/11/2014 8:59:50 PM

PMSLIVES's SparkPage
I thought the comment on the banana was "tasteless!" I stopped reading after reading it.

WINNIE-POOH

2/11/2014 11:31:58 AM

WINNIE-POOH's SparkPage
I didn't know about most of these. Hmmmmmm

ETAYLOR777

2/11/2014 9:25:45 AM

ETAYLOR777's SparkPage
Opps, I mean 13 ingredients. There are 15 slides with 13 ingredients.

ETAYLOR777

2/11/2014 9:24:16 AM

ETAYLOR777's SparkPage
I think that just for fun I am going to include all 15 ingredients into one meal. I love creativity in the kitchen.

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