Six foods to put you in the mood

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - /// BY LISA TURNER

Sex­ual Vi­tal­ity Get your love life back on track for Valen­tine’s Day with th­ese six foods to in­spire de­sire.

If your love life’s lack­lus­ter, there’s time to get back on track be­fore Valen­tine’s Day. Try th­ese six foods to in­spire de­sire:

Saf­fron From the stig­mata of the cro­cus flower, saf­fron has a long his­tory of use as an aphro­disiac, and mod­ern stud­ies sup­port its ben­e­fits. In one study, women who suf­fered from lower li­bido as a re­sult of tak­ing an­tide­pres­sants showed in­creased arousal and lu­bri­ca­tion, de­creased pain, and im­prove­ment in sex­ual func­tion af­ter tak­ing saf­fron. In an­other study, men who took 200 mg per day of saf­fron for 10 days also had im­prove­ments in symp­toms of erec­tile dys­func­tion ( ED).

Try this: Crum­ble saf­fron into to­mato sauce; steep it in warm wa­ter and drink with honey; add a gen­er­ous pinch of saf­fron threads to a pint jar of olive oil and al­low to in­fuse for five days.

Oys­ters Be­cause they re­sem­ble fe­male gen­i­tals, oys­ters ( as well as mus­sels and clams) have long been con­sid­ered aphro­disi­acs. And there’s truth be­hind the leg­end: oys­ters are the rich­est di­etary source of zinc, nec­es­sary for healthy testos­terone lev­els. And in­creased zinc has been shown to im­prove sex­ual performance. Zinc also in­hibits the body’s pro­duc­tion of pro­lactin, a com­pound that con­trib­utes to de­creased li­bido.

Try this: Dredge oys­ters in bread crumbs and fry un­til golden, then serve over arugula with hot sauce; top oys­ters in the shell with a mix­ture of puréed gar­lic, spinach, onions, but­ter, bread­crumbs, and anise- fla­vored liquor, then sprin­kle with shred­ded Parme­san, and broil; sim­mer oys­ters in fish stock, white wine, tar­ragon, and shal­lots, then serve with lemon aioli.

Tuna Tuna is loaded with omega- 3 fats, which have been shown to in­crease lev­els of dopamine, a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter that in­creases sex­ual mo­ti­va­tion and performance. It’s also a great food source of vi­ta­min B , which has been linked with de­creased risk of ED.

Try this: Mix canned tuna with may­on­naise, Sriracha, black sesame seeds, and cilantro; grill tuna steaks, then thinly slice on the di­ag­o­nal and serve on a bed of greens with olives, green beans, hard boiled eggs, and to­mato wedges; toss raw sushi- grade ( or cooked) tuna with cubes of avo­cado, baby spinach, and a dress­ing of mirin, ginger, lime, sesame oil, and tamari.

Choco­late It’s a rich source of phenylethy­lamine ( PEA), a com­pound that trig­gers the re­lease of en­dor­phins and can stim­u­late sex­ual de­sire. In one study, women who ate dark choco­late on a reg­u­lar ba­sis en­joyed and de­sired sex more than those who did not. It’s also high in mag­ne­sium, which can re­duce the body's lev­els of sex hor­mone- bind­ing glob­u­lin ( SHBG), a com­pound that sup­presses testos­terone. Be­cause choco­late also in­creases lev­els of mood- boost­ing sero­tonin, it can re­duce stress and make you more amorous.

Try this: Stir co­coa pow­der and honey into plain al­mond or peanut but­ter, and spread on ap­ples; purée ba­nanas, co­conut milk, and bit­ter­sweet choco­late un­til smooth, then freeze in an ice cream maker; blend co­coa pow­der with chick­peas, co­conut oil, and honey for an edgy choco­late dessert hum­mus.

Pomegranates A cen­turies- old sym­bol of ro­mance and pas­sion, pomegranates were tra­di­tion­ally as­so­ci­ated with fer­til­ity. ( In clas­si­cal mythol­ogy, Aphrodite, the Greek god­dess of love, planted the first pome­gran­ate tree.) Mod­ern stud­ies show that pomegranates are rich in an­tiox­i­dants that sup­port blood flow and can im­prove ED. One study also found that pome­gran­ate juice low­ered cor­ti­sol lev­els, linked with in­creased testos­terone in both women and men.

Try this: Toast flat­bread, then top with ri­cotta cheese, minced pars­ley, and pome­gran­ate seeds; com­bine pome­gran­ate juice with sparkling wa­ter, and add a sprig of rose­mary; toss pome­gran­ate seeds with cubes of cooked but­ter­nut squash, pis­ta­chios, and crum­bled goat cheese.

Red wine It con­tains resver­a­trol, an an­tiox­i­dant that can treat ED and im­prove sex­ual func­tion in men. Stud­ies show that red wine can also en­hance sex­ual func­tion in women; in one, women who drank one or two glasses of wine per day had in­creased de­sire, lu­bri­ca­tion, and over­all sex­ual func­tion than tee­to­talers or women who drank more than two glasses a day.

Try this: Mix red wine with grape juice for a lower- al­co­hol drink with the same ben­e­fits; com­bine red wine with rose­mary, or­ange juice, and or­ange zest for an easy mari­nade; sim­mer toma­toes, onions, gar­lic, and red wine, purée un­til smooth, and stir in ca­pers and chopped olives.

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