SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Valentine's Day is often linked to aphrodisiac foods such as chocolate, but a U.S. food industry analyst says not to forget garlic, ginger and vanilla.
Phil Lempert, food industry analyst, trend-watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, says although medical science has never substantiated claims that certain foods actually kindle desire, an Italian study suggests the aphrodisiac potential of chocolate is psychological. Chocolate contains two related alkaloid stimulants -- theobromine and caffeine -- and is rich in phenylethylamine, a compound that has effects similar to amphetamine.
"Used for centuries in ancient Europe as an aphrodisiac remedy, garlic stimulates the secretion of gastric juices, aids in digestion and increases blood flow. It is said that the 'heat' in garlic stirs sexual desires," Lempert says in a statement.
"Ginger root is still used to soothe the stomach, but it also acts as a stimulant and as an aphrodisiac, it is thought to aid in relaxation."
Oysters and pine nuts have long been linked to sex because of their high level of zinc, a mineral that aids in the production of testosterone.
"The smell and flavor of vanilla is believed to increase feelings of lust, but some studies show vanilla can raise levels of catecholamines, or adrenaline, in the blood," Lempert says.