Tips for Valentine's Day
Superfoods for Romance
If you're searching for simple ways to spice up your sex life, try looking in the refrigerator.
"We can create a sexual essence with our partners across the table with food," says Gail Frank, registered dietitian, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, and professor on nutrition at California State University in Long Beach. "Eating is a process of entering into the body and feeling joyful and fulfilled. It's sexual."
Beyond the taste of the food, the color, shape, feel, and consistency can also make a food sexy. In addition, certain foods contain substances that make us feel good by interacting with our hormones or stimulating our brain, says Frank. Here, a list of foods to incorporate into your romantic meal plans to help you and your partner get in the mood.
These decadent shellfish have components that help with the buildup of sexual hormones, says Frank. A good source of minerals like selenium and zinc, oysters are also high in protein. Try serving them for an appetizer during a romantic dinner. Frank cautions that when buying oysters, you have to be careful to consider what waters the oysters are from, as some can be high in PCB levels or other pollutant chemicals. Pregnant women should also avoid oysters.
Recommended Serving Size: 3.5 ounces shelled, 65 calories
Chocolate has been a symbol of love and lust for centuries. Why? It contains theobromine, which is a stimulant to the brain that creates a pleasurable effect. Chocolate also contains antioxidants that may lower cancer and heart disease risk. Of course, chocolate is also very high in fat and must be consumed in moderation. Opt for dark chocolate because it contains less sugar, has a higher antioxidant potential, and a higher amount of theobromine than milk chocolate.
Recommended Serving Size: 1.45 ounces of dark chocolate, 218 calories
Papaya and Kiwi
These colorful fruits have an alluring and interesting aspect about them that can help turn you on, says Frank. "They feel really good on your tongue and are sweet and juicy," she adds. Tropical fruits are also packed with antioxidants to help ward off heart disease and cancer. Kiwi is richer in vitamin C than oranges, and papaya is rich in beta-carotene and soluble fiber. Try dipping these fruits into some melted dark chocolate for an erotic dessert.
Recommended Serving Size: One average papaya, about 74 calories One average kiwi, about 29 calories
They don't call it a honeymoon for nothing. This sweet syrup was used by medieval seducers to ply their partners and lovers on their honeymoon. Mixed into a drink, honey drink was thought to sweeten their marriage, according to gourmetsleuth.com. However, honey has a high glycemic index and lacks nutrients, so, though it's slightly better than sugar, it's a good idea to consume it in moderation.
Recommended Serving Size: One tablespoon, 72 calories
Who knew asparagus could be sexy? But feeding yourself or your partner phallic-shaped asparagus can create sexual atmosphere, says Frank. Plus, asparagus is also one of the few good sources of vitamin E and it's a natural diuretic. Try steaming them and eating them with your fingers.
Recommended Serving Size: 7 spears, 1/2 inch thick, cooked, 25 calories
A good dose of caffeine through a cup of coffee or tea can help get you going in the bedroom, says Frank. Caffeine causes the release of epinephrine, which contributes to stimulation in the body. Small amounts of caffeine are also found in chocolate. But, beware -- too much caffeine before bedtime can keep you awake long after the fun has ended.
Recommended Serving Size: Freshly ground black, scant 1 cup, 4 calories
Originally published on BHG.com, January 2005