According to research, average annual Valentine’s Day spending is $13.19 billion and 61.8 percent of consumers celebrate the holiday. How do they celebrate? There’s the typical cards, flowers, candy, and of course, a fancy dinner.
And the traditional finale to a lovely evening? Well, according to CNN, 85 percent of men and women say sex is an important part of Valentine’s Day. And why shouldn’t it be? Studies show that a healthy sex life can benefit your relationship and your overall health.
So for this week’s recipe roundup, we’re focusing on dishes to help set the mood with healthy, aphrodisiac ingredients. There are tons of foods and herbs with purported libido and sexual performance enhancing properties. Some get their reputation from legends and history and others have nutrients that could prove beneficial for sexual function.
Although the verdict is still out on the effectiveness of most aphrodisiacs, even if these recipes don’t turn you into an Aphrodite or Casanova, they’re still guaranteed to be healthy and delicious and to titillate your senses! Try these recipes out for Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion.
1. Chocolate Maca Espresso Smoothie
This rich smoothie from The Sensual Foodie will put a spring in your step! Drink it in the morning to give yourself a boost to last the day – or try it the morning after Valentine’s Day for round two.
The key is the maca powder. Maca is an herbal supplement from a root native to the Andes Mountains of South America. Its alkaloids help you feel fueled and alert, increasing energy and libido. It’s also naturally nutrient dense and includes important B vitamins and zinc. Not sure where to get maca powder? Natural Healthy Concepts has you covered! In addition to the powder, we also sell it in capsules and even yummy chocolate bars!
Speaking of chocolate, that’s another aphrodisiac in this recipe. Chocolate has a long history of sexual significance. The ancient Aztecs and Mayans valued chocolate so much they used cacao bean pods (the source of chocolate) as currency – sometimes at brothels. In addition, Aztec Emperor Montezuma is said to have drank chocolate to keep up his stamina for his many wives – a hobby picked up by the legendary Casanova as well.
In addition to the legends, chocolate also contains compounds to give it some scientific weight. It’s a good source of phenethylamine – a stimulant released in the brain when we fall in love – and tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin for improved mood and arousal.
And finally, the espresso gives you a caffeine boost for energy. It also increases heart rate and blood flow and can cause a bit of sweating, just like sex.
Get the recipe here.
2. Oysters Rockefeller
Oysters are classic. They’re luxurious. They’re also nutritious. Oysters are particularly high in B vitamins and zinc. B vitamins are essential for energy and are needed by neurotransmitters like serotonin to keep you in a good mood.
Zinc has some similar functions, but it’s also very involved in sex and fertility, and it’s important for regulating hormones in both men and women. In the male body, particularly high concentrations are found in the prostate and semen. In fact, men lose about 1-3 mg of zinc in each ejaculation.
This oyster recipe from Eating Well is a lighter take on the classic Oysters Rockefeller created in New Orleans in 1889 in honor of John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest Americans at that time. It may not have the cream sauce of the original, but it’s still big on flavor. Greens like spinach give a health boost and another level of flavor along with licorice-flavored liqueur, a touch of hot sauce, and Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy the sensory experience of slurping these down with your lover. Click here for the recipe.
3. Asparagus and Saffron Biryani
This Indian dish from Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes is sure to invigorate the senses. It’s also a healthy, light entrÃ©e that won’t leave you in a food coma on a big night.
The key seasoning is saffron. It includes magnesium, which is needed for sex hormone production, but you probably won’t get much in the small amount used for seasoning. What this ingredient really does is set the tone. It’s fragrant and exotic – something special and different from the usual Western fare. Saffron’s flavor simply can’t be replicated or replaced. It can be a little pricey, but why not splurge for a special occasion? Its dramatic impact will definitely be worth it.
The chemical, libido-boosting reaction comes from the asparagus. Not only has its phallic shape earned it a history of use among the Greeks, French, and within the Kama Sutra, but it’s also full of nutrients like calcium, vitamin E, and potassium. Asparagus contains aspartic acid to neutralize excess ammonia, which can cause fatigue and low libido. It’s also a good source of folic acid, which may increase histamine production. But don’t think we’re about to talk about allergies. This hormone is also necessary for orgasm.
Get the recipe from the blog here.
4. Easy Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
No Valentine’s Day is complete without chocolates, and since chocolate is so great for libido, why not feature it in another recipe? These truffles from The Detoxinista make candy-making easy and healthy! The secret is swapping heavy cream and butter for avocado. You might be suspicious, but avocado’s luxurious texture and high fatty acid content is super satisfying. Plus – you guessed it – avocados are aphrodisiacs.
From chocolate to avocados, things are apparently pretty hot down in Mexico (just ask The Coasters). The Aztec word for avocado was ahucatl, which means testicle and was used for its appearance and aphrodisiac effects. Like the family jewels, these green jewels come in twos, growing in pairs on the tree. And then there’s the texture. We’ll let you think about that one yourself.
Avocados are also very healthy with fatty acids for all kinds of benefits and vitamin E for the healthy production of sex hormones.
Get the recipe andÂ give these truffles a try – you might be pleasantly surprised.
5. Spicy Paloma
Every Valentine’s Day needs a cocktail, right? And while alcohol isn’t exactly healthy, this drink doesn’t score too badly, featuring fresh grapefruit juice and spicy jalapenos.
Jalapenos and other spicy foods can have aphrodisiac effects due to a compound called capsaicin. This increases heart rate, metabolism, and sweating – like sex. So before you even do the deed, it’ll be on your mind.
The booze in this? Tequila! And you know what happens when you drink tequila, don’t you? Okay, maybe it doesn’t exactly make your clothes fall off, but alcohol does have a relaxing effect. Helping you wind down and feel a little less inhibited could get things rolling.
BUT – take it easy. There’s a fine line between alcohol helping and ruining a night of passion. You want to lose some inhibitions, but not all of them – like the ones that keep you awake and able to walk to the bedroom without passing out into an embarrassing pile of slurred speech on the floor. Keep it classy.
View the recipe here.
6. Wild Raspberry Honey Butter
With just three ingredients – raspberries, honey, and butter – this recipe couldn’t be easier.
I know what you’re thinking – “Butter isn’t healthy!” Well I have a few responses. First of all, you do need some fat and cholesterol in your diet. Secondly – all things in moderation. It’s a special occasion – I think you’re allowed to splurge. Thirdly, experts are currently rethinking our fear of butter and say it might not be as bad as we’ve been told these past few decades. But if you’re still dedicated to abstaining from butter, you could make this recipe with a butter substitute.
Now enough with the health lecture, let’s get back to the love!
This creamy, lightly sweet and fruity spread definitely adds a touch of romance – and a very convenient way to tempt and tease. Say you accidentally get a bit on your finger – clearly you would have to delicately like it off. It would be perfect for breakfast in bed – spread it on pancakes, toast, muffins – and anything else you’d like.
Nothing is more romantic than honey. Where do you think the term “honeymoon” came from? Honey has been linked to love since ancient times and across many cultures. Some consider it a symbol of fertility.
It’s perception as an aphrodisiac is even supported by nutrition. Honey includes boron and nitric oxide. Boron helps regulate hormone levels and nitric oxide is released in the blood during arousal. It’s also great for your skin. Just picture the sweet, sticky nectar slowly drizzling into a mixing bowl – or onto bare skin.
Click here for the recipe.
Give these recipes a try and let us know if the aphrodisiac ingredients live up to their reputation. Or maybe you already have some dishes that turn up the heat. Share those with us, too! Everybody could use some hot stuff now and again.