To help love bloom, skip the bar and the movie. Women like to be taken to dinner. A recent study found being fed before romance shifted the brain into a space that’s more attentive and responsive to romantic cues. Feeling satiated by food might mean women seek satiation in “other ways,” post-meal, suggested researchers.

That said, we’ve heard about those “sexy” foods that help us feel more “in the mood” – the aphrodisiacs like oysters and chocolate (yes and yes), but what about the surprising, lesser-known foods that can take it to the next level: sexy, loving, and emotionally connected?

First, the libido-boosting foods that might surprise you:

  • Garlic. You might have garlic breath, but a mint or two later, know that your circulation is supported with garlic, which contains allicin, which can increase your circulation… to all the right places.
  • Watermelon. Sweet on the tongue, kind to the waistline, nourishing to your tissues, this natural hydrator also contains the amino acid L-citrulline that naturally increases blood flow, yep, to all the right places, especially for men.
  • Goji Berries. Herbalists in China, Tibet, and India have used goji berries for thousands of years to support the liver, but these berries also improve sexual function and fertility.

Now, the feel-good love foods that might come as a surprise:

  • Lemon Water. A great thirst-quencher, lemon water stimulates the liver, which makes our hormones. If your liver is free and flowing, you feel less stress and tension, which makes for a better mood, period.
  • Chickpeas. A vegetarian favorite contains phytoestrogen, which boosts estrogen production, which boosts oxytocin, which is the love and bonding hormone.
  • Oatmeal. You might think it’s bland, but it’s good for reducing depression and stress with high levels of magnesium. High in fiber too, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels to avoid mood swings. All of that puts you in a better, more loving mood.
  • Favorite Anything. Anyone’s favorite food is likely to help them channel a warm memory, feel happy, or feel loved if it’s associated with a loving person, place, or thing, which sparks oxytocin (refer to chickpeas, above).

As you plan your next romantic dinner, depending on your food choices, you and your partner can boost your libido, and those loving feelings, all at the same time.