Spice things up

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but whether you’re cooking for a male or female partner this Valentine’s Day, these aphrodisiacs are scientifically proven to get you in the mood

Aphrodisiacs are named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and a lot of our common aphrodisiacs stem from that time. Aphrodite herself was often imagined emerging from a clamshell, and still today seafood and oysters are recognised as aphrodisiacs. But the list doesn’t end there. Here are a few common foods to get you in the mood this Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate is a sensuous, decadent food, plus it contains the chemicals anandamide and phenylethylamine, which boost serotonin levels – the feel-good hormone. Don’t overdo it though as chocolate can be very filling. Gorging yourself on a whole box of Milk Tray could be a passion-killer, but a strawberry or two dipped in dark chocolate couldn’t hurt.

Oysters are high in zinc, which can regulate sexual hormones, but experts believe it’s that intimate way of eating – or slurping – the oysters that actually get us going.

Spicy food warms you up, gets your heart pumping, stimulates nerve endings and increases the blood flow. Just make sure you wash your hands after.

This contains citrulline, which relaxes the blood vessels in much the same way as Viagra does. Plus it’s a less stodgy dessert option to keep you alert all evening.

It’s not the sexiest of foods, but it contains phyto-androgens, which is similar to testosterone and can increase sexual desire in women.

The Romans believed rocket was an aphrodisiac and used it in love potions. It is great for digestion and full of nutrients, but whether it turns you into a gladiator in the bedroom remains to be seen.