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Five aphrodisiac dishes to ignite your Valentine's Day

Oysters contain amino acids that can you boost your love life.
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Valentine’s Day is this Friday and couples searching for a jump-start in the romance department may want to look towards aphrodisiac ingredients found in local restaurants dishes to get the amorous motor running.

What exactly is an aphrodisiac? In the culinary world, it is a food item that stimulates sexual desire. Commonly-known aphrodisiac foods include oysters and chocolate, but a few of the aphrodisiac foods below may be surprisingly arousing.

1. Asparagus

Believe it or not, asparagus is an aphrodisiac. Its long and lean form evokes comparisons to that of a a particular organ in the human anatomy, and research shows that the vegetable may even contain phosphorous elements that counteract fatigue.

And if you are not keen on preparing asparagus at home, you can treat your sweetheart to romantic brunch at Iris, where the restaurant inside the North Carolina Museum of Art serves a lobster and asparagus omelet.

2. Almonds

In a recent New York Times article, Raleigh author Helen Yoest of “Plants with Benefits” recommends almonds as the best aphrodisiac for women. Almonds, according to Yoest, contain amino acids, which are known to increase arousal.

Locally, if you’re looking to get a hearty fill of almonds, Swad, an Indian restaurant in North Raleigh, cooks swai fish in an almond and cashew nut gravy in its Fish Masala dish.

3. Honey

Honey, in the long annals of history, has long been known as an aphrodisiac across many cultures. Not only does the sticky, sweet stuff boost testosterone production in men, but honey contains boron as well, which coincidentally helps women regulate estrogen.

In Raleigh, a healthy dose of drizzled local honey can found at Beasley’s Chicken and Honey, where it’s the sweet crescendo to one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes--the Fried Chicken and Waffles.

4. Chocolate

Chocolate may rival oysters as the most popular aphrodisiac food. The link between chocolate to an increase in sexual desire is disputed by some scientific studies that cite that levels of the two chemicals found in chocolate--tryptophan and phenylethylamine--that stimulate sexual desire are not significant enough to establish a scientific causal effect.

But, even if the link between chocolate and sexual desire is all psychological, chocolate is still immensely pleasurable to eat. Luckily, in Raleigh, supremely good locally produced chocolate can be had at Escazu Artisan Chocolates and Videri Chocolate Factory. Videri is currently offering a Valentine’s Day Confections Box that includes one chocolate bar and six chocolate candies for the holiday.

5. Oysters

Studies show that oysters contain two amino acids, D-aspartic and N-meth-D-aspartate, that aid testosterone production in males and progesterone in females. The presence of these two unusual amino acids have been linked to an increase in sexual activity.

If you’re looking to conduct your own study, Taste in Raleigh offers Oysters Rockefeller served with bacon, a blend of cheeses, spinach, onion and garlic.