Aphrodisiacs by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

One seductive salad

(originally published in the Santa Monica Daily Press Newspaper 2008)

Aphrodisiacs & zinc

The Kiss. It is my favorite painting. It is my favorite experience. The most important one is that first kiss. It can make or break a relationship. You either feel it or you don’t. Kissing is one way to “feel it” while still behaving like a lady or a gentleman.

I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, preferring to wait for the perfect person rather than jump into a relationship simply to avoid being alone. I am so taken in by Hollywood’s portrayal of love and romance. In my favorite movie, Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character recites a monologue about experiencing that first kiss with the right person. If you’re a romantic, please rent this one. I won’t give away the story except to say that she’s a writer and a hopeless romantic, just like me.

Because I am The Kitchen Vixen, people don’t automatically think “soft and sweet” but instead expect leather and lace and recipes for attracting sex. I often get asked for advice about the best “Aphrodisiacs”. An Aphrodisiac is anything that is believed to increase sexual desire. It could be an object, beverage, or food.

Oysters are one of the best known aphrodisiacs. Their popularity grew out of their shape. Look at an oyster and you’ll see what I mean.

Oysters also happen to be the richest source of zinc from any one food source. Zinc is a primary ingredient, so-to-speak, in the production of sperm. Perhaps that is the reason men claim to be affected by oysters.

Aphrodisiacs initially gained recognition during ancient times when food was scarce, nutrition was poor, and libidos were low. Associations were drawn between certain foods and increased sex drive and voila – magic potions for love.

While working as a Diabetes Educator, a national news company interviewed me about aphrodisiac claims. I remember telling the interviewer that I often saw married male patients only when they were not able to fulfill all of their husbandly duties. When Diabetes affects that aspect of life, it has gone uncontrolled for far too long. On the plus side, at least something was motivating them to change.

I became a Diabetes Educator because I felt that the way I would teach Diabetes sufferers to eat is the way I would teach everyone to eat. The misconception about Diabetes is that eating too much sugar, or processed carbs, causes the disease. In reality, Diabetes is genetic. It presents itself, more or less, when someone is inactive. The muscle cells become lazy and do not use sugar the way they should. Yes, reducing processed carbs and sugars will definitely help, but activity is the best medicine of all.

Aside from being active, and this goes for everyone, eat a diet loaded with colorful antioxidant rich fruits, vegetables, and heart healthy fats. These are the foods that might protect us all from chronic diseases and the ever thwarting signs of aging.

Try this aphrodisiac salad with all of those coveted nutrients including zinc from pine nuts (a source less obvious that oysters) and arugula, which has been known throughout ancient times as Rocket! And don’t forget the dark chocolate. Women know of its powers. Men, you will have to give some to your lady and judge for yourself.

Whether your meal is meant to win a heart, steal a smooch, or solicit a night of unbridled passion, just remember, it’s all about the K.I.S.S.Keep It Simple Sweetie. This recipe is so simple, light, yet satisfying, you’ll have plenty of energy for whatever transpires.

Aphrodisiac Salad
(Double is making for two)

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 cups arugula
(arugula’s peppery flavor complements the sweetness of the berries, much like the perfect couple—sweet and spicy!)
1/2 cup black berries
1/2 cup raspberries
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1/4 ounce dark chocolate


  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the first three ingredients. Mix with a fork
  2. Add the arugula and toss to coat with dressing.
  3. Add the berries (a.k.a. fruit nipples)
  4. Squeeze some lemon juice over the salad (the lemon juice helps to pull flavors together much like salt, but without the unwanted water retention that follows and may hinder the evening’s romance)
  5. Sprinkle with pine nuts
  6. Use a small, microplane type grater, to shave chocolate atop the salad

Per serving:
290 calories, 16g heart healthy fats, 36g carbs, 9g fiber, 5g protein



  1. The best aphrodisiac–The Kitchen Vixen.

  2. Thank you David. What a sweet comment!