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We’ve all heard of the aphrodisiac powers of oysters and chocolate. Old wives’ tales? Well not exactly.  The keys to enhancing romantic and sexual performance in men and women include improving your blood circulation, your ability to experience pleasure, and your 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, just so you know, these include the nutrients found in oysters and dark chocolate.

Glamour magazine featured my nutrient list in an on-line article this week, so for details on the specific nutrients found in the foods listed below, visit: http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2014/02/good-sex-healthy-foods.html

So, which foods act as elixirs of passion? Let’s start with those that improve your circulation. Then I’ll share my Valentine’s Day meal plan.Kabobs2

Foods that increase circulation are:

1)      Beets are an incredible source of nutrients that improve circulation (see Dr. Masley’s blog, the best vegetable for your heart, https://drmasley.com/uncategorized/what-is-the-best-vegetable-for-your-heart/ Not surprising then that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and rapture, recommended beets as an aphrodisiac.

2)      Cooked spinach (You need at least one cup of cooked spinach to make a difference. Raw spinach is mostly water. It takes 7.5 cups of raw spinach to equal 1 cup of cooked spinach).

3)      Oysters

4)      All shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab)

5)      Turkey breast

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

1)      Shrimp, lobster, crab

2)      Caviar

3)      Turkey breast

4)      Soy protein

5)      Dark chocolate. We are not talking milk chocolate; the chocolate has to have at least 70% cocoa mass to qualify.

Foods that enhance adrenal function stimulate sex drive and libido.

1)      Oysters

2)      Dark chocolate

What undermines romantic performance? Well that would be too much alcohol. You need hydration, so enjoy sparkling water and iced green tea, but 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 (yes, some of you may think raw oysters, but as a physician, I’d have to say be careful with raw seafood, so I’m recommending smoked oysters).
  • Crab salad, See recipe, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 290.
  • Caviar

Main Course:

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


  • Chocolate. Try one ounce of dark chocolate per person, drizzled over fresh strawberries or cherries
  • Or for a special treat, try my Chocolate-Raspberry-Orange Soufflé (it is awesome!) The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 338-339.

I wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Steven Masley, MD