Valentine’s Day is right around the corner—are you in the mood for love? Don’t worry if your answer is a definite no (or if it’s a “not yet”). With the many responsibilities of our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to forget to take those crucial daily opportunities for quality time with your loved one to strengthen your relationship. This Valentine’s Day, though, I’d like to challenge you to take the time out—to simply slow down and enjoy each other’s company. You might just feel the benefits all month or all year long (but don’t forget to make it a regular ritual, too).
And what better way to create a full sensory, and sensual, experience than with a delicious and nutritious meal? Dinner by candlelight, breakfast in bed—however you want to celebrate, go for it! To help you make the most of the experience this Valentine’s Day, I’ve gathered up some ideas for foods and recipes that are not only health-boosting but libido-boosting. Here are some of the most exciting aphrodisiacs out there to help create a meal that not only nourishes your body but also perks up your relationship and allows your bonding time to bloom.Spices are not only great for the brain (the body’s most important erogenous zone)—they’re also great for boosting the libido! Click To Tweet
4 Categories of Libido Boosters
1. Gorge on greens.
Basil, arugula, asparagus, celery—this Valentine’s Day, get your greens on! For example, basil has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, including aphrodisiac qualities, in addition to being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. And one study found that an extract from arugula leaves “caused a significant increase in testosterone level, sperm activity…[and] a significant decrease in sperm mortality and abnormalities” in male mice. Asparagus, too, has been used for centuries for its believed erotic effects, leading National Geographic to call it the “veggie version of Viagra” in past eras. As a bonus, it doesn’t hurt that all of these green wonders are unbelievably tasty, too.
Recipes to try: Snack on Celery Stick + Tahini Cheese for an appetizer or the Peaceful Asian Pear Salad, chock-full of arugula. Add a warming soup like Cream of Asparagus or a vibrant side dish like Chilled Asparagus Salad to your main course for an added dose of clean greens.
2. Spice things up.
Spices are not only great for the brain (the body’s most important erogenous zone). Warming and comforting flavors—like those found in cinnamon, ginger, chili peppers, and honey—as well as earthy flavor boosters like garlic, ginseng, and saffron, are ideal for the winter months and for your overall health, and they’re also great for boosting the libido! Cinnamon, for example, was found in one study on young male rats to lead to “significantly increased sexual function,” while saffron was found in a separate study to increase sexual activity (including erection frequency) in male rats. Findings like this bring new meaning to the idea of spicing up your love life!
3. Sweeten the pot.
We all crave a little extra sweetness on Valentine’s Day. Get your dose with fruits like cherries, strawberries, bananas, apples, pomegranates, figs, or watermelon, all of which have been reported to have aphrodisiac effects. Or, if you’re into eating the classic chocolate on this holiday, stay away from the processed, high-sugar kinds and choose health-boosting types instead, like dark chocolate. Even sweet potatoes or pumpkins are a great choice—these orange wonders offer carotenoids, plus fiber to keep those energy levels up over the long haul.
Recipes to try: Craving a delectable dessert or drink? Try Fresh Berries With Macadamia-Nut Sauce or my Very Omega Cherry Smoothie. For a hearty and savory starter, whip up Smooth Sweet Potato Soup, or for breakfast in bed, Simple Pumpkin Pleasure Pancakes With Coconut Whipped Cream—so decadent, without any sluggish side effects.
4. Go fishin’.
Perhaps oysters are the best-known natural aphrodisiac. In fact, one 2019 study found that oyster meat “could induce aphrodisiac activities and consequently enhance the sexual behavior in normal male mice,” while also improving their sexual function. But, if you’re looking for an alternative (that’s also heart-healthy), salmon is another great choice. And it works for both sexes: One study reported that omega-3s, like those found in salmon, improved sexual function among pregnant women.
If you want plant-based fats instead, reach for almonds, walnuts, avocados, or pine nuts. Nuts are not only nutritional powerhouses with a host of health benefits, but walnuts were found in one study to boost men’s fertility by enhancing sperm health. And did you know that avocados, according to NPR, were long appreciated for their erotic qualities—as evidenced by their original name, ahuacate, the Aztec word for testicle?
Recipes to try: For a stimulating main course, make my Baked Salmon With Roasted Leeks or Cedar Plank Salmon. You can use avocado in everything from desserts, like gelato and pudding, to classic guacamole for a nutritious yet indulgent snack.