If you're planning on doing the cooking this Valentine's Day (because who wants to get gouged for an astronomical restaurant meal that'll be half the price the next night?), forget worrying about finding the perfect scented candles or making a sexy playlist, and focus more on tossing in a few all-natural aphrodisiacs to your recipes. Here, seven libido-raising power hitters you'll want to include in your dinner—and since these aphrodisiacs will probably surprise you, chances are your date won't suspect a thing either.
They don't come cheap, but hey, consider them a worthwhile splurge. Truffles contain something called androstenol, a sex pheromone produced by male pigs that attracts females and increases their interest in mating. (Now we get why they use pigs to find truffles.) Turns out those same pheromones supposedly induce similar behavior in humans too … so feel free to shave a little extra on your pasta this week.
It may not seem sexy to cart a giant watermelon into the house and try to dissect it without making a mess, so it might be worth picking out those pre-cut packs at the supermarket on Valentine's Day. The fruit contains L-Citrulline, which, according to a 2011 study, can assist with the relaxation of smooth muscles and induce nitric oxide production, which increases blood flow, which in turn, can amp up libido. L-Citrulline has even been used to help with some forms of erectile dysfunction.
Figs contain not one but two components that help with sex drive: They're packed with L-arganine, yet another amino acid that converts into nitric oxide, as well as magnesium, which contributes to sex drive and raises testosterone levels. It makes sense then, that figs have been considered a fertility fruit since the days of Ancient Greece—and just look at them. We'll never think of fig jam the same way again …
This one seems a bit counterintuitive since garlic breath isn't the most romantic thing in the world, but considering that garlic is a super food that can be used to combat everything from high cholesterol to the common cold, it's not all that surprising that it can rev up your sex drive too. The bulbs contain allicin, a compound that can increase blood flow to sexual organs. And the fact that it was fed to the early Olympians to increase stamina gives you an idea of what it can do for your date night. Just don't serve it up raw unless you're armed to the teeth with breath mints.
The green veggie provides high amounts of folate, which facilitates the production of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that's an important part of sexual arousal, according to the book Sexual Fitness) and also stimulates production of histamine, which is released in the body during orgasm. Asparagus also happens to be a good source of libido-boosting B vitamins.
A study conducted by University of Gelph researchers found that saffron, a spice derived from the dark red Crocus strativus flower, is a true natural aphrodisiac and can increase sexual performance. It's also a health powerhouse and chock full of good stuff like manganese, Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium and vitamin B6. Paella party, anyone?
You may have heard rumors that oysters are a powerful aphrodisiac … and in fact studies have shown that's true. A study presented at the American Chemical Society annual meeting in 2005 stated that after scientists extracted two obscure amino acids from oysters (and mussels too) and injected them into rats, they triggered the release of testosterone in males and progesterone in females. One caveat: Oysters have to be eaten raw. And, incidentally, eating them in spring when they're breeding will give you a higher concentration of those acids and, ostensibly, amplify the effects even more. So feast on oysters in spring, by all means, and eat them on February 14 too. Better yet, indulge all year round.
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