With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I suspect many of you are planning something special. Hopefully you’re avoiding the bonkersness that is restaurants on Valentine’s day (we did that exactly once, 11 years ago) and spending the evening at home cooking up something special. If you’re looking to get romantic, keep your dinner on the light side (or, if you’re going to indulge in a richer meal, perhaps work up an appetite first? 😉
I’ll be coming back on Thursday with a lush dessert for your Valentine’s date, but for now, to help the romance along, I’ve got a list of 5 foods to get you in the mood.
This one is a no brainer, right? In fact chocolate’s Latin name, Theobroma translates to “food of the gods.” In addition to being rich in antioxidants, cocoa contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator of the central nervous system that contributes to feelings of well-being, excitement, or falling in love. Awww. Unfortunately for the lazy lovers out there, it’s been proven that chocolate doesn’t contain enough of this to have any true impact on us, so you’re still gonna need to work it! But fear not, chocolate also contains tryptophan, a building block of serotonin, which brings feelings of happiness. For the maximum benefits of chocolate, choose dark chocolate with minimum 65% cocoa.
Recipes to try:
Single Serving Chocolate Cake (make two!)
Naturally Sweetened Chocolate (two ways)
Chocolate Date Truffles
Chocolate Raspberry Torte (this one is lush! It's also dairy and gluten free)
Maca is a root in the cruciferous family (related to broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc) grown in the Peruvian Andes. It is an ancient and resilient plant – it needs to be to grow in those harsh conditions. Maca is a good source of iron, calcium and potassium. Maca is also a great source of riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin E and vitamin A, and a powerful anti-oxidant.
Maca is an adaptogen, which means it can help to balance hormonal, nervous and cardiovascular systems. It is also said to be quite effective for improving libido, and hey, it’s Valentine’s Day…
The Aztecs apparently called avocados ahuacatl, or “testicles”, and Catholic priests in Spain found the fruit so sexual that it was forbidden. Avocaods contain vitamin B6, which helps increase the production of male hormones. It’s also rich in folic acid and potassium, which support hormonal systems and boost immune function.
Is it hot in here? Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the heat in fiery peppers, increases circulation and stimulates nerve endings. And the effects of the heat aren’t limited to your mouth; increased blood flow is a mechanism that gets your mojo going.
Long considered an aphrodisiac, bridegrooms were traditionally served the phallic spears at prenuptial dinners in 19th century France. Rich in potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A, and C, thiamin, and folic acid, a serving of asparagus can boost the histamine production necessary for a fun night (if you get my drift). It’s also said to stimulate the urinary tract, which can be a good thing when romance is in the air. Asparagus season hasn’t come around yet, but frozen asparagus spears are great in many recipes.