Candlelight. Soft music. A bottle of wine. Sexy food. Yes, it’s time to start setting the scene for the highlight of the month of love (drum roll please), Valentine’s Day.
And just in case you want to take things up a notch or five with your significant other in celebration of the day, Mediterranean Delicacies’ in-house chef, Brian Gomes has put together his sublime list of foods known for their aphrodisiac qualities.
Although you may be spoilt for choice when it comes to the food of love, Gomes shares his top nine favourite foods.
One of the delicious ingredients of the smooth textured Mediterranean inspired taramasalata is olive oil, which the Greeks of ancient times believed increased virility of the males.
Olive oil has been used to promote health over the centuries. Rich in antioxidants, this natural aphrodisiac is filled with the good fats in the form of omega-3s – those healthy things which play a role in the feel-good hormone dopamine. Omega-3s are also the heroes of the hormone arginine which releases nitric acid. This is important in increasing arterial flexibility, which according to aminoacid-studies.com means that nutrients and oxygen can be transported at a faster pace to the organs, which has an overall positive effect on potency, endurance and sexual performance.
Best of all, as taramasalata is served as part of your appetisers, you set the mood for your night of love from the get go.
2. Pine nuts
Delicate tasting with a high protein count, pine nuts are known as a versatile food – from adding that extra delicious edge to a soup, this buttery flavoured food works well in salads too.
Their reputation comes a long way. In fact, in medieval times they were known to take the libido to the next few levels. They are high in zinc, which according to tests conducted by NCBI, has been shown to contribute to sexual competency among males by boosting testosterone levels in the body.
3. Basil pesto
Aromatic basil is associated with arousal and has long been used by the fairer sex to attract men. The herb also boosts circulation and protects the heart, which helps to increase libido.
Basil pesto is a suitable ingredient to use when grilling fish or meat, or even as part of a salad dressing.
4. Grilled asparagus
When it comes to catalysing the production of sex hormones (and sex drive in turn) in both men and women, asparagus is a definite go-to source.
With its concentration of vitamin E, known for stimulating the production of sex hormones in both sexes, this natural aphrodisiac can be served as part of your hors d’ oeuvres or even during the meal, keeping up the mood and the loving ambience.
5. Red jalapeño chillies
Capsaicin, the key ingredient that makes chillies hot, increases the heat in other areas too. This feisty component has many hidden charms, such as the release of chemicals that can raise your heart rate and trigger those natural happy chemicals called endorphins, making you feel good whilst boosting your libido.
These babies are perfect in salads or even as a pizza topping to add some zing to your meal.
Although the verdict is still out when it comes to the greater benefits of cooked vs raw celery, this vegetable has a long-standing use as a solution to impotence.
This fairly regular vegetable packs a punch, containing nutrients which promote sexual and general health. According to Eat Something Sexy, there is some evidence which points to the scent of celery as suggesting androsterone, the primary male pheromone which plays an important role in heightening a man’s attractiveness to their mate.
Use it to create an additional crunch in your salads, or as the perfect crudités for the yummy Mediterranean Delicacies caramalised onion or tzatziki dips at the start of the meal.
7. Smoked salmon
According to Cosmopolitan, salmon’s high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids provide the building for production of the female hormones oestrogen, and the male testosterone and progesterone. And while these fatty acids help your heart health, they also happily contribute to helping your libido too.
Used as an appetiser or incorporated in your main meal, this delicious fish brings a touch of luxury to your meal with its essential elements contributing to your evening of love.
8. Red seaweed Cavi-Art
As a delicacy, this caviar-like recipe made from seaweed is perfect for vegans and other foodies who enjoy the indulgence of caviar. High in vitamin E, seaweed helps in preventing free radicals found within the sperm membrane, promoting the production of healthy male seeds.
9. Avocado hummus
Besides being a delicious addition to snack platters, avocados contain high levels of folic acid which helps metabolise protein, B6 and potassium. If you are wondering how this may serve you (and your love life), this translates to increasing male hormone production and regulating thyroid glands, two elements that increase libido in both men and women, according to Soulmate Food.
Served as an appetiser, like in an avocado humus or even combined as an ingredient in a salad dressing, you are sure to raise a smile or two with this gastronomic delight.
“Food plays a central role in all of our interactions,” says the Mediterranean Delicacies chef. “And when it comes to the month of love, using these 9 ideas is a sure way to spice up your meal and enjoy an unforgettable celebration of your love.”