Why Baked Beans May Make You Feel A Bit More Romantic

Many would argue that no backyard barbecue is complete without a steaming vat of baked beans. But, if you find that the weekend lunch coincides with a little inclination toward afternoon delight, don't be surprised. Believe it or not, canned baked beans are the unlikely aphrodisiac your stomach (and other parts) has been missing.

It's all about the zinc. Baked beans are packed with it, and the essential mineral is particularly essential for maintaining good sexual health. Zinc regulates testosterone levels, boosts libido, raises sperm count, and promotes prostate health. Zinc also stimulates the production of two key sex hormones, testosterone and prolactin. Zinc supplements are even used as a treatment for people experiencing erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. The miracle mineral increases energy and improves heart health – the full gauntlet of physical aspects involved in a romp in the sheets.

Zinc also plays a big role in taste and smell reception for your olfactory system. In other words, if you want to taste those baked beans at all, your body relies on zinc to do it. Amounts vary by brand, but in general, just ½ cup of baked beans contains 26% of the daily recommended intake for zinc. It's not just the English version of Heinz; the gamut of different American baked bean brands is just as likely to put you in the mood, as well. (Homemade totally gets the job done, too.)

I zinc therefore I am (turned on)

Foodies swear by baked beans for all sorts of reasons, but we dig the unpretentious presentation of the everyday staple. They tote none of the fancy plating or "special occasion" vibes you might expect from an aphrodisiac. Plus, they're a helluva lot cheaper than oysters on the half-shell. Still, if "setting the vibe" is your goal here, slugging the beans straight from the can might not be the best move. Use this shockingly sexy staple to boost the flavor of baked beans by incorporating canned beans into different dishes. A sultry full English breakfast, cozy pork and beans by a crackling fire, or beside a slab of hot honey-buttered cornbread in a cast iron skillet.

The superstition around sexual foods is legendary, and admittedly, the jury is still out on whether aphrodisiacs really have as big of an effect on the brain-body response as some folks believe. According to Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, of the Cleveland Clinic, it could have a lot to do with the placebo effect. But, the pleasure-center-stimulating qualities of canned baked beans are backed by science. Just to be safe, you could also totally try pairing your baked beans with other supposed-aphrodisiac foods like asparagus, salmon, beets, avocados, artichokes, figs, honey, and even coffee, according to a study conducted by Mindlab International Laboratory in Sussex, UK. Talk about starting your morning right.