Aphrodisiac foods for your Valentine's Day

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - It's no secret certain foods help boost your sexual drive, and for a romance-packed day live Valentine's Day, you might want to include some of these on your menu.

CINNAMON

You can increase your sexual appetite with foods like cinnamon, which can also improve cognitive function and have you paying more attention to your loved one.

PINE NUTS & ALMONDS

Pine nuts and almonds both contain zinc, which boosts testosterone and is essential for reproduction.

PEPPERS

Sometimes you have to eat hot to feel it. The stuff in chili peppers, capsaicin, promotes the release of chemicals that can make you sweat, raise your heart rate and trigger the release of endorphins.

PLANT-BASED DIET

If you're looking for a more obvious improvement in desire, Nicole Cornelious with Herbivore RD recommends a plant-based diet.

"There's a link between vegetable consumption and improved sexual function due to increased blood flow to the brain, which is a key player in sexual response and development and so they also call it the veggie Viagra effect," Cornelious said.

ARUGULA & BEETS

Arugula and beets give us nitrates that Cornelious said can open arteries and improve blood flow.

SAFFRON

“It actually helps to decrease stress hormones that are released, so it decreases symptoms of anxiety,” Cornelious said.

POMEGRANATE

“Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants and it helps to increase testosterone in men which can enhance sexual desire,” Cornelious said.

This is the alcohol-free drink she makes with pomegranate juice, replace the sparkling water with spirits for a cocktail:

1 cup pomegranate juice
Mint leaves (muddled)
4 tsp. simple syrup
Sparkling water

CHOCOLATE & AVOCADO

Chocolate is sensual and packed with antioxidants, of course, it’s a lovers' favorite.

Mix chocolate and avocado to make chocolate pudding for your date night dessert.

“Avocado is featured because it is high in monounsaturated fats just like nuts and seeds. because of that it helps to counter the detrimental effects of saturated fat. if we have a diet high in saturated fat it can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes which can actually impair blood flow and then chocolate contains two different compounds. The first compound is called phenylethlamine which they say is released by our brain when we fall in love and also it promotes the release of those feel-good hormones which is dopamine and serotonin,” Cornelious said.

Cornelious makes this pudding mixing chocolate and avocados:

2-3 avocados in a food processor or high-speed blender
1 tbsp. vanilla
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup unsweetened cocoa 
Blend all ingredients until smooth.

The higher the percentage of dark chocolate, the higher the cocoa. It will be bitter but contain more antioxidants.

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