We don’t need a holiday (or a reason, really) to indulge, but there are plenty of benefits to digging in to the box of chocolate. Studies have shown certain flavonoids may boost your memory, lower cholesterol, and prevent blood clots. While excessive sugar isn’t doctor-recommended, calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day, right?
Raw oysters have become an aphrodisiac mascot; a reputation that probably came about because they’re high in zinc, which some studies suggest may boost testosterone in men. Besides being rich in zinc, the omega-3 fatty acids may protect against age-related blindness.
How did chocolate-covered strawberries become an aphrodisiac? It’s almost impossible to flirt when you have chocolate all over your teeth. Regardless, research has linked St. Valentine’s favorite berry to boosts in red blood cells—which increase energy levels and combat anemia—and lower cholesterol. Combine that with the above benefits of chocolate, and this treat packs a seriously healthy punch.
Who knows if this sugary condiment will add any romance (although it contains boron, which has lead to increased testosterone levels in rats), but researchers in Dallas have shown that it may help ward off resistance to antibiotics, making it a key ingredient in fighting infection. Additionally, in 2001, the British Medical Journal published findings suggesting that honey could help to prevent heartburn.
5. Pine Nuts
Nut consumption has been linked to reduced mortality rates—adults who ate a handful every day were 20 percent likely to die from a host of causes, including cancer. Pine nuts are also high in manganese—which aids in bone development—and pinolenic acid, which helps you feel full.
While people have said that fennel increases a woman’s libido (the seeds were once thought to contain compounds that mimic estrogen), it also contains melatonin, which may help control obesity (in rats anyway), according to researchers at the University of Granada.