Proteins (and other foods) for Love

Thursday, February 14, 2019

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Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.

— Alan D Wolfelt

It is Valentine's Day; love is in the air and on the table. For many, food and sex go hand in hand and it's no surprise that aphrodisiacs — foods that put us in 'the mood' — are named after the Greek goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite. Many of us don't need a reason to indulge in quality meat and seafood. However, it turns out that a number of them can boost the sex drive. The job of libido-boosting foods is not just to arouse, as the diet has been proven to have the most significant effect on how the body functions. So, as you prepare a romantic dinner to shower someone with love, may we suggest incorporating a few of these into the menu.

1. Beef

Whether you prefer tenderloin or striploin, this red meat contains zinc and iron that increase the efficacy of the red blood cells in transporting oxygen. It also contains B vitamins and protein for fuel and endurance.

2. Pork Chops

Pork contains carnitine and L-arginine (amino acids that improve blood flow), zinc and protein. Like in beef, protein helps to stimulate the release of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter in control of the brain's pleasure centres. As with all good things, partake of animal-based proteins in moderation to avoid increasing risk of heart disease and lethargy.

3. Salmon

Salmon is an ideal source of omega-3 fats, which help to lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and improve circulation. If that's not enough, omega-3s also boost production of dopamine.

4. Shrimp

The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in shrimp not only help to raise dopamine levels in the brain that trigger arousal, but the mega-3s also help prevent the build-up of plaque in your arteries, thus improving blood flow throughout your body.

5. Scallops, Clams and Oysters

We've all heard that oysters boost the libido. But why? It's because they contain two amino acids — D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate — that have been found to increase sex hormones in men and women. Along with scallops and clams (fun fact: Aphrodite is often depicted as emerging from a clamshell), oysters are, too, high in zinc, which can regulate sexual hormones.

6. Red Wine

Its with red meat, moderation is key here. Italian researchers recently found that the antioxidants and alcohol in the red wine may trigger the production of nitric oxide in the blood, which helps artery walls to relax, increasing blood flow. It's interesting to note that boron — a mineral that helps stimulate the production of both oestrogen and testosterone — is found in red grapes. Just be careful: too much alcohol can put a damper on the evening, and always remember to drink responsibly.

7. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine that releases the same endorphins triggered by sex which increase the feelings of attraction between two people.

8. Nuts and Seeds

These are excellent sources of L-arginine that gets converted into nitric oxide, thus keeping arteries flexible, blood vessels dilated, blood flow improved.

9. Ginger and Scotch Bonnet Pepper

The heat from ginger and Scotch bonnet peppers optimises the body's temperature, gets the heart pumping, stimulates nerve endings and increases the blood flow to sexual organs.

10. Kidney Beans

No wonder rice and peas is so popular! We should have guessed. Kidney beans are also very rich in L-arginine. A study showed that a supplement high in arginine improved female desire and satisfaction.

In conclusion, for the best Valentine's Day dinner, ever you should have some molluscs, quality meat, a bit of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine. You'll thank us.

If you are looking for advice and the best cuts of beef, pork and seafood, come see your family-friendly butcher Chef Gregory Burrowes, master meat crafter at Butcher Block, Upper Manor Park Plaza, where you can find amazing wines and so much more.

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