Planning your menu for Valentine's Day? Nutrition experts say don't limit yourself to traditional aphrodisiacs like oysters.
It's long been thought that certain foods may have the power to put you in the mood for love. Carolyn Snyder is a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. She said although it's tough to tell if any true aphrodisiacs exist, some foods are better than others at promoting blood flow and stimulating our senses, like hot chili peppers.
"Hot chilies, hot peppers, hot nights, so if you have the chilies that is going to fire up the romantic evening by increasing the circulation, but increasing blood flow, and by exciting those nerves," said Snyder.
Snyder said hot peppers are packed with capsaicin, a chemical known to release endorphins and create a feeling of happiness. Chilies can also increase heart rate and stimulate nerve endings.
Fresh ginger root may also get your circulatory system flowing. It also contains libido-lifting vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium.
Almonds provide a natural energy boost, and the scent may be particularly appealing to women.
Finally, Snyder said there is a reason many of us like to give our Valentine chocolate.
"It's giving you a serotonin high. So, when you have the chocolate you begin to feel a little more amorous than maybe you would do without the chocolate," said Snyder.
But even on Valentine's Day, calories count. Snyder said don't overdo it, an ounce or two at a time is sufficient.