Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, few would turn their noses up at the opportunity for a more fulfilling sex life. In fact, it has often been reported that a large percentage of Brits are dissatisfied with their sex lives. But, did you know that as well as improving your overall health, reducing your impact on the planet and the harm you cause to animals, a vegan diet can also help you in the bedroom? Here are five ways a vegan diet can boost your vitamin L (that’s vitamin Love):
1. All day and all of the night
The idea that men need to eat red meat to perform sexually couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, a 2020 survey revealed that vegans and vegetarians have more sex than your average meat-eater, enjoy more foreplay and are less selfish in the sack.
This could be explained by the cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits of a plant-based diet, giving vegans better endurance and aerobic capacity than those who eat meat – qualities which are very useful in the bedroom. And of course, the compassion of vegans may explain their selflessness.
Foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol (meat, eggs and dairy products) that clog up the arteries leading to and from the heart can also block the blood flow to other vital organs! Vegan fire-fighter Rip Esselstyn (son of esteemed heart surgeon Dr Caldwell Esselstyn) says: “the canary in the coal mine when it comes to heart disease is an underperforming penis”.
On the other hand, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, pulses, nuts and seeds protects against and can even reverse blocked arteries, heart disease, stroke as well as lowering the risk of impotence – which can be an early warning of heart disease.
2. Smell the desire
The way we smell plays an important role in how attractive we appear to others.
A 2006 study investigated the effect of meat consumption on body odour and attractiveness. The researchers fed men either a meat or meat-free diet for two weeks and then collected samples of their body odour, which were judged for attractiveness by a group of women. The men’s diets were then reversed and the same thing was done a month later. In both cases, the women found the body odours of the vegetarians more appealing than the musk of the meat-eaters.
The researchers concluded that, “red meat consumption has a negative impact on perceived body odour hedonicity.” In other words, vegans smell sexier.
3. Turn me on
Did you know that going vegan can increase your sexual desire? A recent study conducted by researchers at Stanford University compared the effects of a healthy vegan and omnivorous diet on 22 pairs of identical twins. The twins following the vegan diet reaped many benefits including lower cholesterol, fasting insulin and body weight. But in addition to these improvements, some of the twins following the vegan diet also reported a whopping 383 per cent rise in libido after having their arousal levels measured. Find out more by watching Netflix’s You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment.
This is in-line with other research that shows a wholefood plant-based diet not only reduces the frequency and severity of hot flushes but also improves the quality of life in the sexual domains of postmenopausal women. The menopause is often a leading factor in lower sexual desire due to the hormonal changes that occur, but by embracing a plant-based diet, with plenty of soya products, some of the symptoms may be alleviated.
4. Lovin’, touchin’, squeezin’
Our mood and mental health play a big part in our sex life. It is common for people with low moods and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, to feel less attractive, have a lower sex drive and even feel more negative about their partner. While there is an association between unhealthy diets and an increased risk of depression and anxiety, a wholefood plant-based diet may improve our mood and therefore be beneficial for our love life. The mood-boosting effects of a wholefood plant-based diet may be down to the abundant antioxidants and phytochemicals in plants and the beneficial effects a varied vegan diet has on the gut microbiome.
When we are in a better mood, we are more likely to disclose our inner thoughts and feelings with others, therefore creating closer, more trusting and intimate relationships. And this creates a positive feedback loop as intimate acts such as hugging and cuddling have been shown to benefit us both mentally and physically.
5. Self esteem
To many people, nothing is more attractive than confidence, and confidence is one of the lesser-known benefits of following a plant-based diet.
There are so many positive health outcomes from following a wholefood plant-based diet, including better weight control, better cardiovascular health, lower risk of type-2 diabetes and some cancers that it’s not surprising they can make you feel better about yourself and your body.
But just as important as all the physical benefits, is the positive effect on self-image we get from following a diet in line with our core values. Having the courage to live a life aligned with our core values – for example, causing as little suffering to animals as possible, or reducing our environmental impact – is the epitome of self-confidence.
As you can see, a vegan diet can improve your romantic life in many ways, from smelling more attractive to increased endurance between the sheets. So, if you’re looking to perk up your libido, let yourself be seduced by the power of plants.