Where would we be without love? It’s the reason for the season, after all, the season of valentines and hearts and chocolate fondue and strawberries and little cupids shooting arrows all over the place. Some of those arrows might have ended up in your heart, and another arrow might have ended up in the heart of somebody else and before you know it, you might just be in love!
Valentine's Day has a long and complicated history, but it is widely recognized as a celebration of love and affection between intimate companions. The holiday is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in the third century. There are various stories about Saint Valentine, but the most widely accepted one is that he was imprisoned and eventually executed for performing marriages for Christian couples in secret during a time when the Roman Empire had banned the practice.
Saint Valentine was willing to die for love. What would you do?
Wait, don't answer that. We're just here for the food.
You, and your significant other (or insignificant other, if you're not the commitment type) have to eat food. If you're anything like anybody else, part of spending quality time with somebody is sharing a meal or two once in a while.
There's nothing quite like strawberries and champagne to set the mood for romance. The ancient Romans believed that Venus, the goddess of love, favored strawberries. They look like a heart, after all, and they're sweet and delicious. Eating them can evoke a feeling of abundance and luxury. And when paired with a glass of bubbly, they can take your Valentine's Day celebration to the next level.
Chocolate is probably the most iconic food of love. It's been a romantic gift since Victorian times, when it was presented in hand-crafted boxes or special packaging. Chocolate is also associated with Valentine’s Day because it contains phenylethylamine, which creates a feeling of euphoria and some people think it's an aphrodisiac.
Oysters, of Course
Oysters have been touted as an aphrodisiac for centuries and have been associated with romantic and sexual encounters. There is some anecdotal evidence from historical figures such as Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, who claimed to have eaten 50 oysters every morning for breakfast, which he believed gave him energy and desire.
Oysters are rich in zinc, a mineral that is necessary for the production of testosterone in men, and they also contain iodine which boosts the production of thyroid hormones, which in turn can increase sexual desire. There are also two weird amino acids found in oysters that have been shown, at least in animals, to increase testosterone production. However, despite the history and the presence of certain minerals and amino acids in oysters, there is no scientific proof that they are an aphrodisiac per se. In other words, your mileage may vary.
Cheese? Oh Yes, Cheese
Cheese is often considered an aphrodisiac due to its rich taste and texture. According to various sources, consuming cheese can increase levels of attraction and desire, making it a popular choice for romantic dinners. The amino acids found in cheese, specifically tyrosine and casein, play a role in elevating mood and arousal, which can contribute to a more intimate experience. Additionally, the smell of cheese can also stimulate the senses, further increasing its allure as an aphrodisiac.
Different types of cheese, such as blue cheese and brie, are believed to have different aphrodisiac properties due to their unique flavor profiles and textures. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with wine and fruit, cheese can add a touch of luxury and indulgence to any romantic occasion.
Don't Forget Almonds
Almonds have been considered as a symbol of fertility and an aphrodisiac for many years--ancient Romans used to shower newlyweds with almonds like we do with birdseed. The nuts are rich in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fats, which are needed to produce testosterone, and vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber. Their scent has also been rumored to arouse passion in both men and women.
Alcohol is Not an Aphrodisiac
Despite what you might have learned in college, either from experience or observation, alcohol is not a reliable aphrodisiac. In fact, too much alcohol can actually decrease sexual desire and performance. Instead of relying on the old adage “drink up for love” to spice things up, opt for something lighter than red wine or hard liquor, like a glass of sparkling wine or champagne instead. The bubbles can still give you a lift (and maybe even an excuse for a little dance).
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