Roses are red, violets are blue; nothing is better than a nutritious meal for two.
Valentine's Day is a chance to show your other half how much you love them, and what better way than impressing them with your cooking skills? We've produced a three-course menu full of nutrients that have been shown to improve libido. And no oysters in sight!
Baked egg and avocado
A simple starter that can be whipped up in minutes.
Eggs are packed full of protein, the building block of bones, blood and muscle.
"They can give your energy a boost, which could help in the bedroom!" says Michela Vagnini, nutritionist at Natures Plus. Eggs are also great sources of zinc - a mineral that contributes to the proper functioning of your immune system.
Avocados contain more potassium than bananas, a mineral which helps your body maintain a normal water balance. They also contain 26% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K (bone health and blood clotting) and 20% of your folates (important for red blood cells and your energy levels).
"Avocados are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may naturally boost your mood," says Vagnini.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 eggs
- Paprika, to taste
- Chopped basil, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan).
- Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out some of the flesh to make room for the egg.
- Place each half on a baking tray.
- Crack the eggs into the avocado halves. Season with paprika, salt and pepper.
- Bake for 15 mins, or until the egg yolk is to your liking.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped basil.
Chilli and ginger salmon with asparagus
A spicy main course to heat things up.
Salmon is a fish that is very easy to cook, but never fails to impress at the dinner table. It's another great source of omega-3.
"Research suggests omega-3 enhances your mood, helps balance your hormones, and aids the healthy production of sex hormones," reveals Vagnini.
Chilli and ginger
Spicing it up with some chilli and ginger is also beneficial as "both chilli and ginger can contribute to good cardiovascular health and can increase blood flow around the body," she points out. Ginger is also a source of magnesium, an essential nutrient when it comes to sperm production.
A side of asparagus means that you're getting a decent portion of vitamin E, which is important for healthy skin and eyes. There's some evidence that this vegetable is an aphrodisiac too - it's rich in folate which increases a chemical called histamine in the body.
Holland and Barrett's Nutritionist Hannah Moffit says: "When you eat asparagus it produces histamine in the body, which may lead to more frequent orgasms and a better chance of orgasm during intercourse."
- 2 wild salmon fillets
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 inch fresh ginger
- 2 fresh red chillies (chilli flakes also work fine)
- 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spinach (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
- Place each salmon fillet on a square of tin foil. Drizzle 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil and soy sauce over each.
- Peel and grate the ginger. Slice up the chilli (if you're using fresh) and remove the seeds.
- Sprinkle an even amount of ginger and chillies over each fillet. Season with salt and pepper before lightly wrapping the tin foil around the salmon.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the asparagus and spread it out on a baking tray. Drizzle over the remaining rapeseed oil and juice from 1/2 lemon.
- Place the garlic on top of the asparagus and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the asparagus on the baking tray to make sure it is all covered. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Serve the salmon and asparagus straight from the oven. Place the fillet on a bed of spinach.
Dark chocolate dipped berries
A classic romantic dessert that no one can resist.
Chocolate is known to boost your mood and make you feel relaxed. This is down to a nutrient called phenethylamine which triggers feelgood hormones. Good-quality dark chocolate also contains antioxidants, which protect the body from harm. Dark chocolate still has sugar in it however, so enjoy it in moderation.
Berries are also rich in antioxidants and zinc, "which helps to optimise blood flow to the sex organs" says nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.
- 200 g mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc)
- 150 g good-quality dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa)
- Break the dark chocolate up into a microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 30-second intervals and stir until melted.
- Wash and prepare your berries.
- Once the chocolate is melted, dip the berries into the chocolate about 3/4 of the way and then place on to a plate.
- Put plate in fridge and chill the berries for at least 20 minutes. Serve.
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