Appetite for love: Trigger the “love hormone” in your body with these foods
Here's a fastrack to love that will never break your heart. And it doesn’t involve even so much as a first date. They call it the ‘love hormone’ or what experts on the subject call ‘oxytocin’.
Contrary to what folks may believe about this feel-good hormone induced only upon exercise, it’s also as accessible as a dinner plate. “Foods like fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs, citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, pumpkin, dark chocolate, avocados, and nuts and seeds are rich in these micronutrients and they can trigger the production of oxytocin,” says Sunitha Raja, popular for her nutrition and workout videos on social media and her venture Mbody.in.
You know that you have adequate levels of this hormone when you’re happy, enjoy time with friends and family and are generous with your hugs. “It is good for socialising and relationship-building,” points out certified dietician Gomathy Gowthaman, who confirms that the hormone’s levels are in balance when the foods mentioned above are woven into our everyday. And of course — it is released quite naturally when you fall in love.
“The increase of oxytocin levels induce fun, playful thoughts,” Gowthaman elaborates.
As for meal planning through this fresh lens of love, fret not. We’ve got you covered.
If you're cooking a meal at home based on our love train, this will make for a meen feast.
Kudampuli Fish Curry
‘Kudampuli’ is a souring agent with excellent therapeutic qualities, used in Kerala cuisine, particularly Syrian Christian cooking. It is often eaten as a side dish with boiled tapioca or boiled red rice.
Serves two people | Cooking time: 45 minutes
1. Coconut oil 4 tbsp
2. Mustard seed ¼ tsp
3. Fenugreek seed ¼ tsp
4. Ginger cut into long strips (1-inch pieces)
5. Garlic 10 cloves
6. Shallot sliced 1/2 cup
7. Curry leaves 1 sprig
8. Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
9. Guntur Chilli powder 1 tsp
10. Kashmiri chilli powder 1 tbsp
11. Kudampuli (Malabar tamarind) soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 20 minutes - 2
12. Salt to taste
13. Fish ½ kg cut into chunks
14. Water 1 cup
1. Soak Kudampuli (Malabar Tamarind) in half a cup of water and keep it aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan or an earthen vessel. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, fenugreek and allow them to crackle. Next, add curry leaves.
3. Add peeled garlic, ginger and shallots into the pan and sauté until the shallots turn light golden-brown in colour. This should take approximately 7-8 minutes.
4. Reduce the flame, add turmeric, Guntur chilli and Kashmiri chilli powders.
5. Add 1 cup of water and allow it to cook for a while.
6. Once the raw aroma of the masalas is gone, add in the Kudampuli water along with salt and allow it to boil for a while.
7. Finally, add in the fish, and allow it to cook for at least for 10 minutes, on slow flame.
8. Remove the dish from the fire and allow to rest for an hour before transferring to a serving dish.
(Shared by Chef Regi Mathew, from Kappa Chakka Kandhari)
Feel good figs
Given its prominent role in Roman mythology and literature as symbols of fertility, it is no surprise that figs feature on our list. If you are in the mood for something decadent, healthy and perhaps includes an ingredient that one could call the stuff of legends, then head to Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park’s Cappuccino La Dolce Vita. The restaurant is serving quirky Fig and Quinoa Croquets as part of their five-course meal and is guaranteed to set the right tone for an evening filled with fun and romance. 7.30 pm. Starting at ₹5,499 for two.
Loco for cocoa
The dark, silky candy has always had the cultural cachet of being a special, romantic treat. But instead of extending the clichéd box of chocolates to your lady love, we suggest you try something with a little more complex flavours — like the creamy dark chocolate and cranberry fudge. This dessert is part of Aqua, The Park Chennai’s special Valentine’s Day menu that also features mushroom phyllo rolls, with tomato relish. Starting from ₹4,999 for two.
Florets for fun
The menu sounds lip-smacking, however, if you want to keep to our theme, gorge on the Spinach Dim Sum and Wok Fried Mushroom in Mala Sauce at Taj Coromandel this Valentine’s Day. Offering an exotic Chinese cuisine the items on the a la carte menu include bok choy, Stir-Fried Chicken with Broccoli and Black Bean Chilli, and a divine White Chocolate Rose Cremeux with Almond Crumble. February 10-14. 12 pm to 3 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm. At ₹5,000 for two.
With salmon, tomatoes (cheekily called the love apple), chilli, dark chocolate — the specially curated menu at Sheraton Grand is certainly making sure they are ticking all the boxes when it comes to setting the mood for your evening. Choose from a spread that includes tomato mozzarella salad with pesto sauce, fish cooked with Southern spices, a filling salmon and cream cheese appetiser and a chocolate truffle cake as some of the dishes on offer for V-day. 7.30 pm onwards. Starting at ₹2,500 for two.
A lobster’s long history with romance can be traced back to Greek mythology, in which it was believed that sea animals were creatures of love. Besides, we have scientific reasons to opt for a lobster meal this Valentine's Day as its protein quotient helps in boosting dopamine. At the Hyatt Regency Chennai’s Valentine’s Day dinner, keep an eye out for the Lobster Tortellini besides the Rice and Cheese Foam, Confit Duck and Mascarpone Agnolotti, Truffle and Butter Squash Parmigiana, Hazelnut Praline Heart, and Chocolate Gianduja. Priced at ₹10,000 for two. From 6 pm onwards.