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Can Certain Foods Get You In The Mood?

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Oysters, chocolate, strawberries — folklore says certain foods can increase romance or romantic feelings.

WCCO met with a food scientist and chef to learn more about mood foods and to ask if food really is an aphrodisiac.

“If it were, it would be wide-spread. There would be everyone using it. There would be one heck of a market for it. And so, I don’t really believe there is such a thing,” said Gary Reineccius, from the University of Minnesota’s Food Science & Nutrition Department.

He said that food can invoke good feelings, though.

“That’s another story. Food is so pervasive in our culture. We use it for all occasions. We celebrate every occasion with it, so food does contribute to this. It is associated with romance,” said Reineccius.

This time of year, restaurants serve lots of those good mood foods — more than oysters and chocolates.

“Peppers really get your heart pumping, which is good for a romantic evening,” said Steve Slack, from the St. Paul Grill. “Herbs in general … just the enticing aroma, they’ve always been prized in different cultures throughout history.”

Some believe honey gave way to a tradition for newlyweds — the honeymoon.

“Give them honey, which is basically raw sugar and energy, and tell them not to come out until the next (full) moon,” said Slack.

While it’s hard to prove the existence of aphrodisiacs, foods clearly have power over emotion.

“It promotes happiness and creates a certain emotion, a certain satisfaction. That’s real unique to foods,” said Reineccius.

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