(CNN)A new Valentine’s Day may bring a new relationship, a new box of chocolates or even fresh new roses.
But there’s one thing that will probably not be so novel when Cupid makes his latest entry: the notion that certain foods that can actually increase our longing for lovemaking and enhance our sex life.
“From the moment that people were able to scratch on a cave with a stick, people were looking for foods that increase libido,” said Robert Fried, author of “Great Food, Great Sex: The Three Food Factors for Sexual Fitness.” “It’s an age-old search.”
But is the idea of eating foods to achieve a more satisfying sex life a myth or fact? Or does the answer lie somewhere in between?
Libido foods — or lies?
The first thing to note is that libido, or sexual desire, is different from sexual performance. And despite what we may have read or heard, foods simply don’t boost the former. “The claims in the popular literature for foods that can increase libido have no scientific support,” said Lynn Edlen-Nezin, a clinical health psychologist who co-wrote the book with Fried.
3. Antioxidant-rich foods, especially blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and prunes. “You need a certain amount of nutritional Drano to keep blood vessels clean,” said Fried. Antioxidants rid the body of harmful free radicals that can damage blood vessels and impede blood flow.
4. Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in cocoa flavanols, which have antioxidant properties and support healthy blood flow. One study found that small amounts of dark chocolate lowered blood pressure and improved formation of nitric oxide in study participants.
When you think about it, the best diet for a healthy sex life is a heart-healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and lean protein and low in fat. “There’s nothing magical about it,” said Edlen-Nezin.
And the more often you eat these foods, the more satisfying your sex life can be. So incorporate them into your diet on a daily basis — or at least on the nights that call for coupling.