Set the mood with aphrodisiac foods this Valentine’s Day

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Oysters and chocolate, spices and berries — why are some foods considered aphrodisiacs while others aren’t?

They may not traditionally be sensual stimulants, but aphrodisiacs have been known to boost people’s longing for love for centuries.

Alex Vasiliadis, co-owner of Bodega Bar & Kitchen, which recently opened at 1223 Walnut Street, is a self-described “science nerd.” He says when it comes to aphrodisiac eats, there are a lot of reasons why oysters tend to be at the top of the list.

"One has to do with the scientific nature of the zinc," he said.

For fruit, he recommends watermelon.

"The rinds as well as the seeds have two chemical components called arginine and citrulline."

Those amino acids are said to improve blood flow, which is also why hot foods like peppers can be a turn-on.

"Your mouth tingles and your lips pucker. Well, that has all to do with dilation of blood vessels."

And despite it giving you pungent breath, Vasiliadis said go for the garlic.

"It (causes) your dopamines to go a lot higher than they usually are, and when your dopamine is a little bit higher, we all feel good. It's a better version of chocolate, to be honest with you."

Champagne, sparkling wine or even just bubbly water is a great drink choice, too. 

"It heightens the sensation of feeling euphoric and that has to do with not only the chemical components of the grape and how fermentation works, but also the bubbles, (which are) a transport system."

One thing that is not an aphrodisiac? Your phone. Vasiliadis recommends putting it away if you're out on a date for Valentine’s Day.

"I've seen, unfortunately, a couple having a seemingly romantic dinner and people are not talking to each other."

For more on aphrodisiac foods, plus Vasiliadis' take on the dating and bar scene in Philadelphia, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast What’s Cooking on the RADIO.COM app.