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Can Food Put You In The Mood? A Valentine’s Day Special

By February 13, 2013How To, Uncategorized
Feeding her grapes

Since, for many couples, a romantic dinner is often the focal point of Valentine’s Day plans, it seems appropriate (if a little cliché) to clear the air about whether or not some foods can have aphrodisiac effects.  If you are going to go to the trouble of cooking a meal for your loved one, or the expense of taking your special someone to a fancy restaurant, should you consider the potential that what you eat may have and effect on the rest of your evening?

For centuries many cultures have believed that some foods can act as aphrodisiacs.  It’s likely that everyone has heard that raw oysters can be libido lifters, but in my research I also found claims that honey, asparagus, basil, garlic, chocolate, anise, avocado, bananas, chili peppers, ginger, nutmeg, papaya, pine nuts, almonds, and strawberries will have the same effect.  So, can certain foods really enhance the mood?

I’m a “bad news first” kind of gal, so here it is… there is little in the way of scientific evidence to support claims that any food can act independently, when eaten one time, as an aphrodisiac.  The biochemical proof just doesn’t exist, but don’t stop reading here!

Feeding her grapes

Though no research supports the hypothesis that eating a single oyster, for example, will make you feel frisky, oysters are high in zinc, which not only supports prostate health, but also boosts the immune system and testosterone levels.  That being said, regularly eating foods high in zinc as part of a healthy, well balanced diet, may just have you feeling the effects of a dietary aphrodisiac.   Are you confused yet?  The bottom line is, many foods

that claim to have aphrodisiac effects are just plain good for you, and eating foods that are good for you leave you feeling good, and when you feel good, odds are you will also feel more attractive, and more

interested in sex.  The same is true for your mate.   If you are still inclined to believe in folklore, urban legend, and even Hollywood hype, then plan your special Valentine’s Day meal around these simple suggestio

ns, and go ahead and include a few things from the “aphrodisiac” list above, even if its just for insurance.  There’s nothing wrong with a little placebo effect in this scenario!

A Few Tips to Increase the Romantic Potential of Any Meal:

  1. AsparagusDon’t invite stress to dinner.  Relationships, especially new ones, come with their own stressors, don’t make the meal itself become one.  If you are planning a romantic dinner, now is not the time to make a recipe you have never tried, or take your partner to a restaurant you can’t afford.  Stress is the enemy of seduction.
  2. Don’t over eat.  Any romantic dinner is not the time to get the most for your money.  Avoid hitting up the all you can eat buffet, or restaurant with enormous portions.  Over indulgence is not attractive, and neither is eating so much that you can’t move.  Feeling sluggish and rotund is mood murder.
  3. Even if you are not including potential aphrodisiac foods in your meal, choose your foods wisely.  If you’d like you and your partner to take your night to the next level, try to avoid large amounts of fat and protein.  A romantic dinner should not consist of a steak smothered in blue cheese compound butter or a huge portion of lobster mac and cheese.  Save these indulgences for when you are planning to go home alone.  Large amounts of proteins and fats are rather difficult for your body to digest, and in some people can lead to bloating, lethargy and flatulence.  Not hot.  The same goes for a meal consisting of an abundance of fiber.  This may not be the meal to get your entire day’s worth of fruits and veggies.  A small well-balanced meal of lean protein, simple carbs, and a smattering of veggies may be the way to go here.
  4. Consider sharing foods.  Interactive foods like tapas, and fondue (chocolate not cheese…see rule #2) can make couples feel closer.   Sharing can be an aphrodisiac in and of itself.
  5. Consider how food looks.  Certain foods have been thought to be aphrodisiacs simply because of how they look, or how the look when eaten.  A chocolate covered strawberry might look delicious, and so might your partner when she bites into it and juice runs down her chin!  Fill your meal with easy to eat seductive foods.  If hearing someone slurp soup is a turn off, don’t go out for chowder!

If dining in is your thing, consider this simple salmon recipe from, the companion website to an entire book of recipes based on foods rumored to have aphrodisiac properties.  It would be great served with some simple roasted asparagus and fingerling potatoes, and maybe some chocolate fondue with strawberries, banana slices and almond biscotti to dip for dessert.  If you look at the other recipes on Strawberry Lipsthe intercourses website, you’ll notice they are light, healthy, and well-balanced.  Whether or not you believe the hype that certain foods can put you in the mood, healthy is always sexy!

So what are you going to try this Valentine’s Day? Any ‘tricks of the trade’? And special dishes? What foods put you in the mood? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jennifer Jasmin, R.D. is a nutritionist and freelance writer living in Watertown, Massachusetts. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College, and a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics from Simmons College. In her work, Jen strives to help people find balance between real nutrition facts, and realistic health and fitness goals. Her background also includes over 15 years working in the food service industry, which adds to her unique perspective on eating well. She shares her insights, personal cooking lessons, and recipe ideas on her blog at: In addition to writing, Jen shares her passion about healthy eating in casual, approachable nutrition seminars and workshops in both corporate and community settings. To Jen, the journey to wellness is incredibly personal, and should be approached in a way that is individual, actionable and unpretentious. [/author_info] [/author]

One Comment

  • Adam says:

    Great post, Jen! Quick story: I had a buddy in college who used to have this little trick when he had a girl over to his apartment. Before she came over, he’d chop up some onions and garlic and throw them in a pan on the stove. He’d sauté them until the smell, as he put it, “of cooking” filled his place, then toss the onion and garlic down the disposal, rinse out the pan and put it away. When his date arrived, she’d comment on the wonderful smell and with a shrug he’d casually dismiss it, saying “he just likes to cook a little.” I never got a report on whether this actually “worked” and/or if he ever got busted, but I always thought it was a classic move… not one I’d recommend or try myself, but classic nonetheless.

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