Best foods for Valentine’s Day dining

R-H Staff

METRO — Enjoying a delicious meal together is popular for couples on Valentine’s Day. The National Restaurant Association predicts that more than 70 million Americans will visit a restaurant on Valentine’s Day this year. This statistic is what helps catapult Valentine’s Day to the second most popular holiday for dining out, preceded only by Mother’s Day.

Restaurants love Valentine’s Day as well, but more for the profits they can bring in and not necessarily for the romance in the air. Many restaurants capitalize on people’s decisions to dine out with a special menu — one that is often a bit more expensive than their traditional fare. That’s because price is often no matter when it comes to impressing your Valentine. This year, February 14 falls on a Tuesday, typically a slow day for dining out. So restaurants will also benefit from added revenue on a traditionally slow business day.

Couples browsing through Valentine’s Day menus may want to be selective when choosing their menu options. Certain foods are thought to be aphrodisiacs, which can incite feelings of love and passion later on in the evening. Some of these foods include:

•Almonds: The aroma of almonds is purported to arouse passion in women. Antiquity almonds were also once regarded as fertility symbols.

•Asparagus: Going back to the 17th century, asparagus was believed to stir up lust in women and men. It could be because folic acid and a host of vitamins in the vegetable boost histamine production necessary for certain components of amorous affections.

•Avocado: The shape of an avocado suggests something anatomically male, which is why it is often considered an aphrodisiac. Catholic priests in Spain once forbade parishioners from eating the fruit. It is rich in vitamin B6 and potassium, which can help boost energy levels and the immune system.

•Bananas: It’s hard to ignore the shape of bananas and how they may seem sexual in nature. But it’s not the shape alone that earns them their status as an aphrodisiac. They also contain chelating minerals and the bromeliad enzyme believed to enhance the male libido.

•Figs: These fruits have long been associated with love and fertility. The look of figs is thought to symbolize female reproductive organs, and Adam and Eve wore fig leaves to cover their private areas. Perhaps the sweet taste is enough to conjure sweet affections.

•Oysters: The high zinc content of oysters is thought to increase libido and sperm production. Oysters are perhaps the best known aphrodisiac food.

While certain foods are known to stimulate romantic feelings, there are some foods that can repel a person away. Avoid these foods when dining.

•Beans: The fiber in beans may result in flatulence, something that can quickly staunch romantic liaisons.

•Garlic: The potent aroma of garlic can come out through the pores when perspiring and remain on the breath even after rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth.

• Notorious gut-busters: If there is a certain food that tends to cause you gastrointestinal discomfort (spicy foods, cream-based sauces, milk products), avoid them at all costs. Your date likely won’t want to wait through emergency trips to the restroom.

•Onions: Flavorful, but also strong in aroma, this seasoning may also cause gas to form in the digestive tract. That may lead to some embarrassing bodily noises.

•Seeds and nuts: Small particles of food may become lodged in the teeth and cause a goofy grin when smiling. Poppy seeds are prime culprits.

Make the most of a Valentine’s Day meal out by choosing foods that will put you in the mood for romance and not detract from the special mood of the night.

R-H Staff