Valentine’s Day is a day for romantic gestures, and if cooking a meal for your special someone isn’t one of the most romantic things you could do, then we don’t know what is. We all know that cooking food is a love language, but did you know that some kinds of food could actually make you (sort of) fall in love? (And no, we’re not talking about gayuma!)
We are talking about aphrodisiacs, which are food believed to stimulate desire and increase sexual potency whether it’s through increasing blood flow or releasing mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. Of course, while romantic love and sexual desire are not the same things, they are closely linked together – just as certain food has long been regarded as symbols (and sometimes inducers) of love, fertility, and increased libido.
Here are the aphrodisiacs + romantic date night recipes you can cook at home to get your sexy on:
Valentine’s = free pass to eat chocolate. It is known. But seriously, chocolate’s aphrodisiac properties come from the chemicals called phenylethylamine and serotonin, which are believed to be mood enhancers and mild sexual stimulants.
Particularly, dark chocolate, which contains more cocoa, is a rich source of zinc, magnesium, and quercetin. Zinc is linked to virility, magnesium has relaxing properties while quercetin can improve blood flow. Together, these three chemicals can create aphrodisiac effects.
Try these indulgent chocolate recipes:
Oysters have long been considered as aphrodisiacs – so much so that Italian author Giacomo Casanova was rumored to eat large amounts of oysters every day because he believed they had sexually stimulating properties! While the jury is still out on whether oysters can really increase your libido, it does contain zinc and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc helps regulate dopamine, which can increase sexual desire; meanwhile, omega-3 fatty acids improve blood flow.
There’s nothing sexy about food poisoning, though, so make sure to source fresh oysters from a trusted supplier!
If you’re not a fan of raw seafood, you can also try these oyster recipes (for recipes that feature other shellfish, simply replace them with oysters):
Did you know that an old French tradition prescribed including asparagus in all three meals on the day before one’s wedding? While this tradition might have been started due to the asparagus’ phallic shape, it actually turns out that this veggie is rich in calcium, vitamin E, and potassium, which can give you a boost in energy. It also contains aspartic acid, which can prevent you from getting fatigued… because getting too tired when it’s time to get romantic, well, just isn’t sexy.
Here are some delicious asparagus recipes to add to your date menu:
Salmon and other fatty fish like tuna and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which we established are mood enhancers. Specifically, it elevates dopamine, which is the chemical in your brain that makes you feel relaxed. Honestly, even if it wasn’t date night on Valentine’s, eating a flaky, juicy piece of salmon is enough to put anyone in a good mood!
Treat yourself to these sensational salmon recipes:
Nuts. Despite the many, many innuendos that would make us crack right up, nuts are actually packed with (again) omega-3 fatty acids as well as proteins and fiber that increase blood flow. Almonds, walnuts, pistachio nuts, and pine nuts are some examples of nuts that can be added to your Valentine’s recipes. While the rest make this list because of their nutritional value, the smell of almonds is said to have sensually pleasing qualities that could just make date night more intimate.
You can eat them as is, but you can also combine them with other aphrodisiacs to create more romantic and nutty recipes:
Looking to spice up your sex life? Well, the good news is that you can quite literally spice it up by adding red chilies to your dishes! Chilies or sili contain capsaicin, which is not only the chemical that makes you pant and sweat because it’s what makes these red hot chili peppers… well, hot; it also causes you to release adrenaline and endorphins. Adrenaline causes excitement while endorphins leave you feeling high, and with just the right ambiance (which should of course include delicious food), experts believe that eating chili-spiced food can get you in the mood for intimacy.
Spice up your dinner plans with these exciting recipes with chili:
Strawberries may be top of mind when you’re wondering which fruits have aphrodisiac qualities, but did you know that apples, avocados, and watermelon also make the cut, too?
Aside from being so nutritious that eating one keeps the doctor away, apples also contain chemicals that improve the sexual experience for women. Avocados are rich in vitamin E, which not only boosts libido, it also gives you glowing skin (which is always a plus if you’re looking to get in the mood)! Meanwhile, recent studies have found that watermelons contain the nutrient citrulline, which improves blood flow.
Whip up these fruity recipes and end your Valentine’s meal on a sweet note:
Ready to feel sexy on Valentine’s? Which of these aphrodisiac-inspired recipes will you try?