I’ve often wondered if natural food aphrodisiacs work for sparking romance. What better time to find out then on Valentine’s Day? For thousands of years, “love potions” have been around to intrigue us in both the kitchen and the bedroom. In Roman times, the Romans worshiped the apple as their aphrodisiac and today, although not proven, everything from spices to honey and chocolate have made the list.
Chocolate: Chocolate is sensual, from its taste to its aroma, but dark chocolate has also been shown to cause a spike in dopamine, which induces feelings of pleasure. *
Strawberries: Feed them to each other for a healthy, vitamin C-packed dessert that helps keep blood flowing to all regions of the body.
Artichokes: This veggie’s aphrodisiac foods reputation comes mostly from legend and the intimacy of eating it with another, pulling off the leaves to reach the center. But it is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which are critical to proper body function and blood flow.
Honey: Honey is made through pollination and is a symbol of procreation. Birds and bees ring a bell? In fact, the word ‘honeymoon’ originates from mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey given to the happy new bride and groom. It also contains boron, which helps regulate estrogen and testosterone levels and provides a natural energy boost.
Chili Peppers: This invigorating spice has an exotic reputation and a bright red color, which could be why chili peppers are considered natural aphrodisiac foods and a symbol of love. But there’s scientific backing, too. Chili peppers stimulate endorphins (the brain’s feel-good chemicals), speed up heart rate and make you sweat, which all mimic how you feel when you’re aroused.
Avocado: It could be the sensuous pear shape, or the rich flavor of the fruit that gave avocado its aphrodisiac reputation as far back as the Aztecs. And while the jury is still out on just how lustful avocados are the fruit’s high levels of vitamin E could help keep the spark alive because of its role in helping your skin maintain a “youthful appearance.”
Arugula: According to gourmetsleuth.com, this peppery plant has been documented as a natural aphrodisiac since the first century A.D. The minerals and antioxidants found in dark leafy greens like arugula have also been proven to block environmental contaminants that could negatively harm libido.
Olive: Packed with antioxidants, olives and their oil have been used for centuries for health. The Greeks believed these aphrodisiac foods made men more virile as well. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are critical for a healthy heart, blood flow, and hormone production.
Figs: Used by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the fig paradoxically symbolizes both sexuality (the ripe fruit with seeds representing fertility) and modesty (the fig leaf). They are full of potassium and are an antioxidant powerhouse.
Pomegranate: These bright gems enclosed in a thick rose husk are filled with antioxidants which support blood flow.
Many hopeless romantics have tailored their Valentines Dinner to include the foods above and we have paired a few with Bellisari’s Spreads and Sauces to make it easy for you.
Appetizer: Steamed Artichokes with Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread dipping sauce. http://flavorrd.com/2015/02/instant-pot-pressure-steamed-artichokes/
Salad: Arugula with pomegranates, diced avocado. In a separate bowl add 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeño & Fig Spread, 1 shallot finely chopped. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, shallots, and Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeño & Fig Spread in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Entrée: Laced with honey and chili peppers, this recipe is perfect for Valentines Day.
*originally posted on Readers Digest.