Make space in your life for the foods of love
- Credit: Archant
Nutritionist and superfood chef Juliette Bryant shares her knowledge and recipes each week, helping us to eat and feel much healthier...
Happy Valentine’s Day! Certain foods in cultures across the world have played an important role in enhancing libido, love making and fertility. In researching my latest book, Superfoods & How To Use Them, I looked into their ancient uses and modern scientific research. Today, I’d like to share information about several of these foods and an amazing recipe from my new book. This is sure to get you in the mood for some loving.
Chocolate has long been known as the food of love, in fact it is a legendary aphrodisiac. The Mayan king reputedly drank a vat of a special cacao drink to keep him active for his 300-strong harem. Cacao (raw chocolate) is abundant in nutrients, such as a chemical called anandamide (the bliss chemical) and theobromine, which both enhance brain function, helping us to feel good. Being in a good state of mind is something that is vital for joyful love making. Cacao is the most bio-available source of magnesium, making it useful for the heart, brain and hormonal health and magnesium is a common mineral people are often deficient in. We must remember nutrient deficiency leads to poor performance (and ill health). Providing the body with the best fuel is essential if you want to perform at your best. Many of the beneficial nutrients of cacao are destroyed in the roasting process and when dairy and refined sugar are added. It is best to have it raw, now widely available in powered form, in chocolate creations, smoothies or cakes to get the most out of this amazing food.
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This Peruvian superfood is a powerful root vegetable. When discovered by Spanish invaders they found it gave great strength, endurance and potency, hence its name, ‘the Spanish Viagra’. Nowadays it is taken in powdered form for hormonal health, rich in B Vitamins to balance the nervous system and increase sexual function. Great added to a smoothie, hot chocolate or in raw chocolates and consumed 30 minutes before you need that energy boost. Note: Seek advice before taking if pregnant.
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Pumpkin seeds (in fact many seeds and nuts) are high in essential nutrients, especially zinc, good fats and protein. Of course these nutrients are essential for everyone, but men especially should consume them regularly, as they are necessary for the function of a healthy prostate gland, which governs the production of sperm. I use seeds and nuts blended with water and a tiny pinch of good sea salt to make a delicious and healthy dairy-free milk.
Food affects us on so many levels, not just in its nutrient profile but also in its taste, texture, colour and flavour. Strawberries are heart shaped, juicy and succulent, and the bright red colour invokes feelings of love and warmth – both in our hearts and at a physical level. They are also rich in vitamin C and water content, which are both essential for cellular function. I find strawberries especially wonderful when dipped in raw chocolate and shared with your partner.
The only edible orchid, vanilla is the second most valuable spice in the world. I think its delicious flavour and medicinal properties make it well worth it for special occasions. It has a long history of use throughout the world where it has been traded for its aphrodisiac properties. It is the compound vanillin, which is used for this purpose and also to treat sexual dysfunction. Vanilla is very calming for the nervous system. Why not add it to your chocolate for a libido-enhancing delight?
Supercharged Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 Cup
1 tbs raw cacao powder
½ tsp maca powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp coconut sugar (or other healthy sweetener)
1 cup warm seed & nut milk (or any non-dairy milk)
a pinch of vanilla powder (optional)
Gently heat the milk and add it into a blender with the other ingredients. Blend until creamy and serve.