Foods to put you in the Mood

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The connection between food and mood is still being studied, but it’s existence is mostly accepted these days. We know that a nutrient rich diet of whole foods will help us feel better mentally and emotionally, reduce our stress and help us cope better. But with Valentine’s Day approaching, I wanted to know if there was anything behind food putting us in a…different mood.

We often here about foods that can act as aphrodisiacs, but I wanted to see if there was any truth to that.  So I traveled to Edison, NJ to visit with Dr. Derrick DeSilva and get his professional opinion on whether or not food can really put you in the mood!

"There is some validity to foods being certain aphrodisiacs. And it all has to do with the properties of the food." DeSilva says.

Now I needed to know, what foods make the grade? Dr. DeSilva shared some of the more unusual ones that you may not have thought of, like cayenne pepper.

"When you use something like cayenne pepper, what happens? You start to sweat, your nose starts to run, you may start to get a little warm. The reason for that is that, it's called a vasodilator, it opens up the blood vessels and improves blood flow. And, of course, we know how important blood flow is as far as an aphrodisiac goes."

Next on the list, asparagus!

"I'm not sure many people would think of asparagus as an aphrodisiac. But asparagus is a great  source of potassium, fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin C, thiamine and folic acid. Thiamine and folic acid are actually B vitamins. And these B vitamins are very, very important. They boost histamine, and what that does, is that if you can boost the histamine, it's very important for an orgasm."

"Avocados. The Aztecs used to call avocados 'the testicle tree' because it looks like a man's testicle.  But also avocado, again, is very rich in B vitamins. You may be starting to get a little common thread through this whole thing."

"Almonds is another one. Almonds also 'supposedly' and I would say supposedly here because this is thought to be - helps with passionate arousal in females. So in women, almonds become an important piece. But almonds also contain a lot of Vitamin E, of course, fiber and magnesium."

On top of fiber and vitamins, some foods can get us in the mood, just by looking at them; like bananas.

"Again, the shape itself as an aphrodisiac type of property. But there is an enzyme in bananas called bromeldide, which also has an effect on enhancing male libido."

The next two foods on the list are near and dear to my heart. And Dr. DeSilva says they MAY have something to do with why Italians are so passionate.

"Basil not only has a fantastic aroma, but it has aphrodisiac like stimulating properties. I mean this is probably why the Italians are so (dramatic sighs) ya know? And, all joking aside, this is something that again, has some very real, very interesting properties. And again, these are things that you probably would not have thought of. Something like basil."

"Garlic. Make sure you take your garlic and some mints along with you but again, garlic has vasodilatory properties. It opens up the blood vessels."

The last unusual aphrodisiac is super sweet and works for both men AND women.

"Honey, and this is really interesting. Honey has a trace element in there called boron. Boron is a trace mineral that helps the metabolism of estrogen in women. And also, honey, the boron has an effect on testosterone in men. So it has an estrogen effect in boosting estrogen in women and it has an effect on boosting testosterone in men."

Then of course, there's the classics.

Hello, World!

"A lot of people think of oysters and there IS something to the oysters. The oysters are very high in zinc. And zinc is very good for libido and zinc is also very good for the immune system."

And what's Valentine's Day without chocolate? But be sure to get the right kind.

"We're not talking about milk chocolate. We're talking about 70-80% cocoa. You have to go for the dark chocolate, not the stuff that you would perhaps get on Valentine's Day. You have to go for the good 70-80% chocolate."

No matter which of these foods you go for, the bottom line is nothing says love like a home cooked meal. Right Doc?

"A good Sri Lankan meal with some nice rice and a good chicken curry and some dahl. I'm in! I'm in the mood! No problem."