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Would you like to learn about foods that will improve your romantic life? Then keep reading!

We’ve all heard of the aphrodisiac powers of oysters and chocolate. Old wives’ tales? Well, not really.  The keys to enhancing romantic and sexual performance in men and women include improving your circulation, your ability to experience pleasure, and your sex drive. You may be surprised to learn that five nutrients found in a variety of foods have been scientifically proven to give you a better sex life. And, yes, these include the nutrients found in oysters and dark chocolate.

What are these elixirs of passion? Let’s start with those that improve your circulation:  

#1: Nitrates: Sounds like a bad chemical that might be put in processed foods, but nitrates found in natural foods are incredible for your health. Your body uses them to make nitric oxide, the master compound that regulates the function of your arteries. If you increase nitric oxide levels, your arteries will dilate, your blood vessel function will improve, and along with it, you will enhance your athletic, sexual, and blood vessel performance. When men consume foods with “good nitrates” they have better romantic performance. When women eat these foods, they feel more aroused and receptive.

Foods that are rich in nitrates include:

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and rapture, recommended beets as an aphrodisiac.

#2: Arginine: Arginine is another compound the body uses to make nitric oxide. Clinical studies have shown that arginine improves romantic and sexual function. Increase arginine, and you will improve blood flow in men and women.

Foods that are rich in arginine include:

  • Oysters
  • All shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab)
  • Turkey

Next, are foods that increase your ability to feel pleasure.

The brain requires a chemical compound called dopamine for romantic desire and fulfillment. Endorphins are other compounds that increase relaxation and the sense of fulfillment. Endorphins allow us to feel relaxed, calm, and satisfied.

#3: Tyrosine: To make dopamine, you require a couple of nutrients. The most important is an amino acid called tyrosine.

Foods that are rich in tyrosine include:

  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Caviar
  • Turkey
  • Soy protein

#4: Endorphin precursorsA variety of foods including salmon, vanilla, and bananas have been reported to increase endorphin production, but by far the top rated is:

  • Dark chocolate. We are not talking milk chocolate; the chocolate has to have at least 72% cocoa mass to qualify.

Lastly, are foods that improve your libido.

#5: Zinc: Foods that enhance adrenal function stimulate sex drive and libido. To have drive, you need good adrenal function, and in particular you need zinc. Foods rich in zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Dark chocolate

What undermines romantic performance? Well that would be too much alcohol. You need hydration, so enjoy sparkling water and iced green tea, and keep your alcohol intake moderate. Since you won’t be drinking much, you might as well splurge and buy a special bottle of red wine or champagne. Just stick to one to two servings per person, clearly not more than one serving per hour.

Now that you know the top foods for romantic function and pleasure, you should be able to guess my recommended menu for Valentine’s Day.

Recipes for a Loving Valentine’s Day

Appetizers: (Good choices include)

  • Smoked oysters or salmon over a slice of avocado and sliced cucumber (some of you may think raw oysters, but as a physician, I’d want to caution you about eating raw seafood).
  • Crab, steamed
  • Caviar

Main Course:

  • Shrimp or Lobster Kebobs (You could use turkey if you don’t like shellfish) See recipe, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 319-320.
  • Roasted beets. See recipe, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 333.
  • Spinach, sautéed in virgin olive oil, with Italian herbs and fresh garlic.


  • Try 1-2 ounces of dark chocolate per person, drizzled over fresh organic strawberries or cherries.
  • Or, try my Chocolate-Raspberry-Orange Soufflé. See recipe, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 338-339.

Bon Appétit

Steven Masley, MD