Cupid’s favourite foods

No Valentine’s Day is complete without chocolates, strawberries, wine and vanilla. These love foods aren’t just yummy, they have wonderful health benefits too…


StrawberryStrawberries are in an important part of Valentine’s Day celebrations. They are dense in many antioxidants that scavenge free radicals. This helps in keeping a check on cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, stress and cardiovascular diseases. Having a low glycaemic index, strawberries are a sweet treat for diabetics too. The anthocyanins in strawberry inhibit the action of certain carbohydrate digesting enzymes, thus releasing the sugar slowly into the blood stream. This prevents sharp insulin spikes. These berries can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease as they contain iodine and essential fatty acids that have nerve-protecting properties. Containing as much as 20 per cent folic acid, strawberries  can be enjoyed during pregnancy too, to prevent neural tube defects in the foetus.

Dark chocolate

blankDark chocolates are among the top-gifted foods on Valentine’s Day. This yummy delight is dense in substances that can de-stress you and relax your blood vessels. Dark chocolate is also a popular aphrodisiac. The magnesium, potassium and anti-oxidants in dark chocolate are cardio-protective in nature. This delightful food can even help lower blood sugar. However, don’t get fooled. Only chocolate that contains more than 70 – 85 per cent cocoa qualifies as dark chocolate.

Red wine

A glass of red wine completes the setting for a truly romantic dinner. The wine is dense in melatonin and resveratrol that are powerful antioxidants. Melatonin regulates the body’s biological clock and thus helping correct sleep patterns. Resveratrol has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Red wine helps to keep the body warm, a necessity in the romantic winter chill. It protects your heart by reducing bad cholesterol. Researchers in Spain found that including red wine in the diet reduced the incidence of common cold. Red wine may also help to reduce the incidence of  dementia. However, don’t have a glass too many, as it elevates triglycerides and worsens migraines.

Vanilla Beans

These flavouring pods are dense in aroma compounds that have positive effects on the body. Vanillin—the chief antioxidant inthese pods can fight against the free radicals that cause Parkinson’s and other brain disorders, thus protecting you against ageing-related neurological changes.  Above all, it’s a stress buster. Due to the volatile aroma compounds present in it, it is often used in aroma therapy. They increase catecholamine production in the body and are thus considered aphrodisiac in nature as well. Don’t forget to include it in your love foods on the V night.

Rose petals

blankHow can one forget rose flowers on Valentine’s day? But, ever thought of including it as a part of your diet? Here are some “rosy” facts that will help you understand why rose petals are beneficial for the human body. Rose petals are abundant sources of vitamins A and C, two powerful antioxidants.

Rose petals mixed with honey [gulkand] is often consumed in summer to cool the body. It is also a good antacid that can prevent ulcers.  This mixture can be used as a sweetener in your desserts. Or simply use rose petals to garnish your sweet beverages.

Preethi Rahul
Preethi Rahul is a registered dietician. She is a graduate in nutrition, food service management. She has a diploma in clinical nutrition and dietitics from M.O.P. Vasihav College, University of Chennai.


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