Valentine’s Day is approaching. The Irish are well known for their ability to do the hearts and flowers thing. This nation is just a bunch of old romantics at heart. Anyone who’s ever shed a tear at the haunting tones of Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to You, or swallowed the lump in the throat while nursing a broken heart listening to Shane McGowan singing Rainy Night in Soho will tell you that. I mean how can any country produce song lyrics like these and not be prone to the love-struck disease?
So it will come as no surprise that there are a few Irish foods said to be aphrodisiacs. You know those things? They’re meant to get the pulse racing and the sap rising and what not. Put you in the mood for love. Go on you old softies, you know you’re dying to know what they are!
1. Oysters. No surprises here – oysters are known the world over for their aphrodisiac qualities. Casanova is said to have eaten fifty oysters every day and we all know where that got him. Ireland produces some of the best oysters in the world. Carlingford Lough oysters are famous. Clarinbridge in Co.Galway, is referred to as the home of the Irish native oyster. There are oysters farmed in quiet Atlantic waters off Sherkin Island in West Cork, and in the little coves on the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry. Eat them raw as they come, straight from the half shell, and feel the mood of lurve happening as you eat! Why is this? Because firstly they contain zinc, an important mineral for men as it’s needed in sperm production. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but if you’re a fella it’s necessary to have zinc for obvious reasons, and oysters have had the reputation of being a food that provides it. So no wonder Casanova ate so many. However, more modern research also links oysters to unique amino acids which are not available in supplement form. These aid production of testosterone in men, and progesterone in women. Both are sex hormones, and again their connection to oysters contributes to the reputation of the shellfish as an aphrodisiac.
2. Celery, Who’d have thought it? The crunchy sticks we use as the basis for stews and casseroles, make soup from, and chomp our way through stick by stick in a crudite mix, is a sexy gourmet ingredient! What? You won’t look at bunch of celery in the same light again now you’ve read that. Celery has phytoandrogens, the plant equivalent of testosterone, which is important for the male sex drive. Now you know. It’s said celery is at its best after a winter frost, when it gets its crunch and all the minerals and nutrients are at their most potent. Now is a good time to eat it. Bring on the raw celery and dips on February 14th.
3. Salmon. Fresh salmon contains lots of Omega 3 fatty acids which have huge health properties. These fatty acids are linked to good heart health, but also to production of sex hormones.
4. Kale. Seriously, it might look boring and green and not particularly inspiring to you. But its powerful antioxidants help keep blood vessels healthy and protect their linings, increasing blood flow and boosting good circulation. Which is very important if you want to be a red hot lover! Seasonal kale soup it is then, on Valentine’s night.
5. Chocolate. Now we’re talking. What girl can resist a bit of chocolate? It brings on the feel good factor for very good reason. It has natural stimulants for well-being and enhances mood. So fellas, if you want to put some passion into Valentine’s night, bring her a box of the finest chocolate you can find. You might want to check out our chocolate makers for that.
6. Honey for your honey. Natural and preferably organic Irish honey contains special phytochemicals which occur naturally in plants, and aid production of testosterone in men. Honey also contains boron which helps utilise Estrogen in women. Quite simply, honey is said to boost libido for men and women. It’s fairly appropriate. Who hasn’t been introduced to the facts of life by their parents telling them an awkward story about the birds and bees?
So there we have it. A fine seasonal Valentine’s Feast of oysters, salmon, kale and celery awaits, finished with chocolate and an Irish honey eaten out of the jar with a spoon! Love is definitely in the air, if you’re in need of any more inspiration check out our Valetines for food lovers ideas here.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and honey are two amazing natural substances. When you consume them in their unprocessed, raw forms, the health benefits abound. If you put the two together, the results become even more positive. In addition, the use of sweet honey makes the taste of the drink more pleasing.
Fight joint pain, inflammation, digestive problems and sore throat in a natural way by consuming a concoction of ACV and honey on an empty stomach, and observe for yourself the great offerings of nature.
Health benefits of ACV and honey mix
Raw honey and ACV are both praised for their abilities to ward off infections and treat different conditions that have an impact on your quality of life. If you consume them together, you’re likely to experience the following benefits:
- Better joint health and joint pain alleviation (good for arthritic pain)
- Acid reflux and heartburn relief
- Improved digestive health, including help with constipation
- Weight loss
- Reduced cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure
- Sore throat relief
- More energy
- Youthful appearance and better condition of the skin
- Remedy for bad breath
- Reducing inflammation
Why is the combination of ACV & honey so successful?
The overwhelming benefits of the mixture can be explained by looking at their chemical properties and interactions with the body. Many experts believe that we become ill when our bodies turn overly acidic (pH below 7). Vinegar is naturally acidic, but when consumed, it turns alkaline. Honey, too, has a low pH, but raises the alkalinity of the body once eaten.
The two substances are a perfect way to get rid of excessive acidity (resulting from stressful lifestyle and unhealthy foods and drinks) and building an internal environment with a protective pH. Our bodies function at their best and healthiest when the body’s pH is between 7.0 and 7.4, so slightly alkaline.
Further reading: read more about the body’s pH in my articles How to Balance Your pH and Find Out If You’re Too Acidic and 5 Things to Avoid If You Want to Get Your Body Alkaline.
How to make ACV & honey healing drink
Make sure you get the ingredients that are unfiltered and in their natural forms. Honey and ACV that have not been processed, thus have maintained all their nutritional properties, appear cloudy. Also, check the label and go for ACV with the ‘mother of vinegar’, which can be seen as a pulp on the bottom of the bottle.
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1 teaspoon ACV (if you can tolerate the taste, increase the dosage to up to 1 tablespoon)
- 8 oz. warm water (1 glass)
You might initially struggle with the potent taste, but once you experience the benefits, you’ll most likely want to stick with the concoction.
When to drink a mixture of ACV and honey?
It’s best to drink the mixture on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. Consume it about 20-30 minutes before you eat. Be consistent and drink it on a daily basis.
Some suggest increasing the intake to two, or even three, times a day, depending on your needs and tolerance for taste. As with many other natural remedies, it is best to test it for yourself and see what works for your body, although high consumption of ACV may cause low potassium levels and lowers bone density. Also ACV may interact with diuretics, laxatives, and medicines for diabetes and heart disease, so if you’re planning to use it on a daily basis make sure to consult your doctor to avoid interactions with the medicines you’re taking.
Using ACV is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Healthwhich will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
Also read other related articles:
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) For Weight Loss
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drinks
13 Ways to Use Honey For Your Health
Pollinators in Ireland
Bees are the most important pollinating insect because they visit flowers to collect food for their larvae, as well as feeding on floral resources as adults. In Ireland crops such as apples, clover, strawberries and oilseed rape all benefit from pollination and a recent study from the Department of the Environment valued this ‘ecosystem service’ that bees provide at €85m a year to the economy.
2013: Worldwide study shows the decline of wild bees and other pollinators may be an even more alarming threat to crop yields than the loss of honeybees, revealing the irreplaceable contribution of wild insects to global food production.
In Ireland there are 101 species of bee, including the familiar honeybee (One species) and 20 bumblebee species. The remaining species are solitary, meaning they do not form colonies.
Amongst the most well-known services performed by a healthy biodiversity is pollination. Bees are the keystone pollinator species making more flower visits than any other insect. There is a need however for urgent action as our wild bees are facing an unprecedented crisis in declining populations due to agricultural intensification, habitat degradation, disease and parasite spread, and climate change. Pollinators play a crucial role in our farms, gardens and countryside – we cannot afford to take them for granted.
Gardening for Bees
Gardens are extremely important for bees, and vice versa. Bees need flowers for sustenance, and flowers need bees for pollination. But it’s important the flowers you grow provide the food bees need. So Let’s Bee Friendly by turning part of your garden into a bumblebee haven!
- As a rule of thumb your garden should provide bee-friendly flowers, open cup shaped flowers are the bees’ favorites such as foxgloves, that are rich in pollen and nectar which bees can easily access from spring until late summer. This will ensure that there is a good supply of pollen at all of the crucial times.
- Flowers clustered into clumps of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the habitat patch.
- Plants like Pussy Willow and Bluebell are excellent early-year food sources. Mahonia and Hebe are good non-native options
- In early summer Honeysuckle and Thyme are ideal, and in late summer Heathers, Knapweed, Scabious, and non-native species like Sunflowers, Sweet pea and Lavender will provide plenty for bees to forage on.
- If you can, leave an area of your lawn uncut during summer to allow Clovers and Bird’s-foot Trefoil to flower. Leaving uncut verges or planting wildflower meadows will greatly benefit bees.
- Many solitary species nest in south facing banks, so leaving exposed areas of soil at the edges of lawns or creating south facing banks of sandy or clay soil will attract ground nesting species. Other species will nest in dead wood or in south facing stonewalls