In time for Valentine’s Day, heat up your kitchen with these 7 foods.

 

You might be surprised to discover the hotbed of romance tucked away behind your kitchen door. Not only do you probably already have dozens of ingredients locked away inside the pantry that can help spark a night of passion, but also there are foods in your cupboards that can be key to achieving and maintaining sexual health for life.

It’s well known that oysters are held in high regard as a food worthy of the greatest night of seduction. While oysters offer not only an air of luxury, a silky texture and a sense of suggestion to the dinner table, they also offer nutrition that is beneficial to sexual health, including zinc to enhance blood flow and protein for sustaining passion.

But you don’t need to shuck a dozen of the slimy-suckers every time you want to spark a little romance. I built my first cookbook–Fork Me, Spoon Me: the sensual cookbook–to prove this point. The book is centred around ingredients that are inexpensive, readily available, and have both a folkloric history and nutritional basis for their aphrodisiac reputation. Ingredients like chili peppers, rosemary, mangoes, vanilla and honey are foods of passion we need to keep on hand. Purchase them from local purveyors and work them into a seasonal menu to give both libido and romantic life a boost.

Here are seven ingredients I recommend to help spark the flames of love and keep the fire burning with optimal sexual health*:

Cheese

Doctors say cheese is great for the teeth because it lowers levels of bacteria in the mouth. Makes you want to kiss a cheese eater, doesn’t it? Cheese also contains phenylethylamine, a naturally occurring chemical compound that acts as a sort of natural amphetamine. Researcher Dr. Max Lake found that the scent of triple cream cheeses replicated a female pheromone. Who would have thought brie could bring excitement to your bedroom?

Chili peppers

One of the most talked-about aphrodisiacs of the plant world, chili can raise body temperature, make the tongue tingle and bring an alluring flush to the cheeks. Some researchers have even said that eating chilis can cause an all-out endorphin rush. (I don’t know about you, but this sounds like an appealing alternative to running a marathon for that natural high.)

Garlic

A global cure-all as old as recorded time, garlic has been used to treat everything from sleep apnea to cancer. The ancient Greeks fed it to their athletes before Olympic competition for increased stamina–the kind of assistance we could all use.

Honey

An all-natural sweetener, honey is sexy just in its appearance but it also contains boron, which helps us to utilize estrogen. Plus, a little taste can boost blood sugar and offer a bit of energy at a critical moment.

Rosemary

Surprisingly powerful effects come in this small package. Rosemary can both increase circulation and aid digestion. Putting a few drops of rosemary essential oil in a bath can make the skin more sensitive to touch.

Soybeans

Soy is a sensational source of protein and, as such, can increases dopamine. It contains plant estrogens and has been helpful in relieving PMS and menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness. There is also some evidence that soy is beneficial to prostate health.

Wine

We now know that red wine and Champagne offer powerful antioxidants. Some research has shown that the aromas of wines can replicate human pheromones. More obviously, we know that a little wine can lower inhibition and take the edge off during a romantic encounter.

*Excerpted from Romancing the Stove: The unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods

Amy Reiley is a leading authority on aphrodisiac foods. Creator of EatSomethingSexy.com, she was the second American to earn a Master’s Degree in Gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu. She is the author of four aphrodisiac cookbooks including Fork Me, Spoon Me: The sensual cookbook and the award-winning Romancing the Stove: The unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods.

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