Some foods are designed by Mother Nature to get you in the mood. So if you’re coupled up this Valentine’s Day here are six foods to keep in mind as you plan today’s menus:
They contain natural substances that relax blood vessels to boost circulation, allowing blood, oxygen and nutrients to flow freely (increased blood flow equals natural Viagra). Check out my dark chocolate covered strawberry recipe from yesterday’s post about heart healthy Valentine’s Day treats.
The antioxidants in soy provide natural lubrication for women and are one of the top foods for protecting men’s prostates. They also help lower blood pressure so they’re another good circulation food. If you’re going out for sushi order edamame as an appetizer.
They’re a good source of zinc, which has been shown to boost sex drive by pumping up testosterone. Marinate some button mushrooms in balsamic vinaigrette and serve on toothpicks with Mediterranean olives, or sauté them with a little extra virgin olive oil and minced onions as a sexy side dish.
Any food that’s good for the heart is good for the loins because heart healthy foods keep arteries clear and improve circulation (can you tell that circulation is a key factor in boosting libido?). In addition, one ounce of almonds provides 35% of the vitamin E we need daily, another sex hormone booster and powerful antioxidant that prevents arteries from hardening, the top cause of poor blood flow. Serve a few tablespoons of decadent almond butter with wedges of a red delicious apple, or treat your Valentine a ribbon wrapped box of dark chocolate covered almonds.
I’m all about eating seasonally, and winter is not the time for watermelon, but this holiday might sanction an exception. Juicy watermelon contains a natural substance called citrulline, which gets converted into arginine, an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels, increasing…. you guessed it, blood flow! Citrulline is found in higher concentrations in the rind, so be sure to bite into the white part at least a little bit. Watermelon is also 92% water so it re-hydrates if things get sweaty!
In yesterday’s post I wrote about edible flowers. For a libido boost go for lavender. According to the Smell and Taste Foundation in Chicago, it’s one of the scents that produces the greatest increase in arousal in men. Sprinkle a little organic lavender onto a dish of fresh fruit garnished with unsweetened shredded coconut or use it to adorn any plate.
What foods get you in the mood? Please share your thoughts or tweet them to @cynthiasass and @Shape_Magazine
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.