Given that it is Valentine’s Day, it is the perfect time to talk about oysters and their purported aphrodisiac properties. Although there is no scientific basis for the theory, perhaps the impotence effect of zinc deficiency is where the secret behind oysters and their aphrodisiac effect lies. Oysters are by far the richest food source of zinc. Zinc is a mineral that our bodies need for growth and repair and is essential for sexual maturation. One dozen oysters contains close to 79mg of zinc while the closest non-seafood competitor is liver (100 grams) at 7.6mg. Given that our zinc requirements are approximately 12mg daily, one dozen oysters are not needed every single day! Other sources of zinc include seafood, lean meat, and poultry. If a deficiency occurs in children, this can result in growth failure and delay in sexual maturity and in adults deficiency may result in dermatitis, loss of hair, poor immunity and impotence. Zinc deficiency is now included on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global burden of disease list and one third of the world is at high risk of zinc deficiency. In Japan, Valentine’s Day goes beyond edible. Many companies have made time-limited gifts such as chocolate -flavoured lip gloss and chocolate-scented nail polish. I know from my own shopping experience in Japan last year that these products are the real deal. I couldn’t resist buying Fruit Loop and Hershey lip balm (in separate flavours of course) and they do taste like the real thing. Not that I was actively trying to eat them. Apparently we females can inadvertently consume just over 3 kg of lipstick or the like in our lifetime. Think I will stick to the oysters.