Whether you’re in a relationship, single or in between, Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate and appreciate love. This year, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on flowers, chocolates and jewelry, why not try something different? I admit, I’m definitely guilty of spending money I didn’t have on a lavish gift for a boy I was trying to impress.

As students, it’s hard to find that extra cash to meet the expectations of what Valentine’s Day reputes itself to be. But the truth is, we often don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on materialistic gifts to show our love or to show someone we care. There are other ways of showing your love. Why not spend a romantic evening cooking and enjoying a meal together?

Personally, this is my kind of date. You spend quality time together and learn new things about each other. So to spice things up, why not try some foods to make things friskier? There are many foods that help you get in the mood, studies suggest, called aphrodisiacs. Aphrodisiacs are natural substances found in certain foods that promote sexual desire. Even though there are no scientific research to prove it, many users believe and stand by their effects. There are many well known aphrodisiacs like saffron and oysters, but I’ve narrowed down eight for their easy accessibility, taste and a college budget in mind.

1. Hot Chilies: Who doesn’t love a nice spicy meal? A chemical called capsasin is responsible for increasing blood flow that may turn you on. If you’re a big heat fan like me, you won’t have trouble turning any dish into a spicy one.

2. Avocados: Not only do avocados contain healthy fats, but the vitamin E promotes hormone circulation, which may stimulate sexual responses. Avocados can make a great addition to your side salad.

3. Dark Chocolate: Chocolate has always been known as the “love drug” because of phenylethylamine, a chemical found in cocoa that is believed to increase blood flow and encourage the release of endorphins. My favorite is making chocolate dipped strawberries, because not only is it the perfect excuse to feed one another, it’s budget friendly and fun!

4. Oysters: The most well known aphrodisiac. Although they’re a bit on the pricier side, oysters are abundant in Portland.  My favorite place for fresh raw oysters is at J’s Oyster off the harbor downtown. If you are a sushi fan, most Japanese restaurants in the downtown area use quality seafood fresh off the harbor!

5. Bananas: Yes, bananas are sexually suggestive, but they also contain an enzyme called bromelain that studies have suggested enhance male performance. Bananas are also rich in potassium that helps with muscle strength. Why not try them dip them in chocolate? Sounds like a win-win to me.

6. Almonds: Almonds have been anciently known to promote a woman’s fertility, which is why it is considered an aphrodisiac. Not only are almonds healthy, but they promote long-lasting energy!

7. Fennel: Fennel is a fantastic addition to flavor your dish. It is believed to produce estrogen in women and stimulates your sex drive. Need I say more?

8. Red Wine: Many studies suggest a glass of wine is great for your cardiovascular health. It increases your blood flow and confidence. But too much can be counterintuitive, so have just one or two glasses to keep things sexy!


Anna Chiu is a freshman nursing major who writes a weekly column about health and wellness. She can be reached at [email protected]


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