Food and romance have been intricately woven together for centuries, and what better time than Valentine's Day to take a closer look at this intriguing relationship.
In this article, Manchester based nutritional therapist, Elizabeth Harfleet discusses aphrodisiacs to give you food for thought!
The candlelit dinner of gourmet cuisine, against a shimmering backdrop of sweet violins, conjures up a cosy image of romantic contentment.
However, in bygone times, well before the advent of eateries, men and women had to find alternative ways to tantalize their taste buds and desires!
Those who have studied the history of aphrodisiacs will be aware that our ancestors would indulge in such delicacies as a pint of honey, taken with vast quantities of pine nuts to boost their success in the love stakes.
The result was a supposedly unforgettable night; it's not difficult to imagine why!
In more recent times, chocolate, oysters, asparagus and even celery have earned a reputation for their supposedly aphrodisiac qualities.
Indeed, nutritional therapist agree that a high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, have an energizing effect and a positive effect on sexual performance.
Chocolate is in a category of its own. Despite originating from the cocoa bean, a chocolate bar is hardly a vegetable! Chocolate, especially the plain varieties, contains iron and anti-oxidants as well as less helpful caffeine, fat and sugar.
Its combination of hormone-mimicking ingredients can induce a 'feel good factor', adding to its appeal. This explains why we might crave chocolate when we're feeling a bit down, or around menstruation.
If you must eat it - opt for the darker varieties. They are much richer, so you will tend to eat less. Or better still, try carob, an alternative which has a chocolaty flavor.
So, this Valentine's night, you know exactly what to do. Don't bother trying to seduce your man with French cuisine - just open a jar of honey!
About the Author:
Elizabeth Harfleet is a Manchester based nutritional therapist