You were probably hoping that we would be talking about all of the surprising benefits of delicious Valentine’s Day candy, but no such luck. Instead, we’re swapping out tasty chocolate for raw oysters. Just kidding.
While oysters may be one of the most notorious aphrodisiacs, they aren’t exactly the yummiest option when it comes to foods that can spark the love and improve your health. In fact, there are over 20 different foods—some easier to find than others—that claim the name of aphrodisiac. But do they really live up to their reputation?
“Well, it’s complicated,” says Sheila Warren, RN, GMC’s Health Navigator. “Many experts believe that the placebo effect plays a major role in how romantic people feel when eating these foods, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still enjoy them.” After all, these foods provide healthful nutrients that support a variety of different functions, including hormone levels, blood flow and energy—all of which play a role in sexual health.
So, this Valentine’s Day, try thinking outside of the box (the box of candy that is) and try enjoying some of these fun foods instead:
1. Chili peppers. Not only is this flavorful little pepper the perfect color for Valentine’s Day, they also give your endorphins a jumpstart, as well as raise your heart rate.
2. Avocado. Take it with a grain of salt (and lime) that since the time of the Aztecs, this favorite food has had the reputation of being an aphrodisiac because of its energy-boosting vitamins, folic acid and vitamin B9, as well as B6, which supports testosterone production.
3. Chocolate. It is Valentine’s Day after all. Instead of milk chocolate, reach for dark chocolate for two key nutrients—phenylethylamine and caffeine—which will promote a sense of well-being. Oh, and don’t forget the spike in dopamine (one of the feel-good hormones).
4. Bananas. While bananas are known for their high amounts of potassium, they also provide the enzyme, bromelain, which boosts testosterone production. They also support healthy energy levels thanks to vitamin B6 and B12.
5. Honey. With all of its health benefits, you’ll want honey to bee mine. Amongst its many vitamins and nutrients, honey also has boron, a compound that supports healthy levels of estrogen and testosterone.
6. Coffee. The perfect drink for when it’s chilly outside and you need a little pick-me-up. Also, thanks to its stimulating properties, coffee also increases heart rate and blood flow.
7. Arugula. Like avocados, this leafy plant has been known for its aphrodisiac qualities since the first century A.D. Its well-known antioxidant properties help to defend against free radicals, as well as support a healthy libido.
8. Olive oil. Although other types of oil have been in the health spotlight lately, olive oil is still one of the best sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help promote healthy blood flow and hormone production.
9. Artichokes. Unfortunately, that deliciously cheesy spinach and artichoke dip may not provide all the benefits that artichokes have to offer—but, if you opt for the real deal, you’ll enjoy an abundance of vitamins and antioxidants all of which support blood flow.
Fall in love with your health.
Sexual health is only one piece of your overall health. That’s why GMC’s Health Navigatoris prepared to help you make the most of your health at every age. Whether you’re in search of medical information, preventative care or recommendations for diagnostics and treatment, Sheila is there to offer support at every stage of your health care journey. Remember, there is no health concern too small.