Valentine’s Day is approaching and if you’re a man wanting to woo your partner, here are five ways a plant-based diet can help you stay on top of your romance game.
1. What becomes of the broken hearted?
The heart has long been a symbol of love but did you know that men can help avoid, and even heal, a broken heart by eating a healthy plant-based diet?
Men appear to be more susceptible to heart disease than women. Around 2.3 million people in the UK are living with heart disease and over 60 per cent of them are men. Of course, stopping smoking and taking regular exercise helps but so does changing the diet. Research from Oxford University found that the risk of hospitalisation or death from heart disease was a whopping 32 per cent lower in people who avoid eating meat and fish. A vegan diet can assist weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, manage or even reverse type 2 diabetes and ultimately reduce the risk of heart disease – one of the UK’s biggest killers.
2. I’ve got you under my skin
If you’ve got a hot (socially distant) date planned, the last thing you want is a spot on the end of your nose – or even worse, one in the middle of your forehead, that your facemask can’t hide.
For many of us, acne can not only be a little embarrassing but it can seriously affect our mental health. If you’ve got a date lined up for Valentine’s day, you’ll want to look and feel your best. That’s not going to happen if you’re feeling depressed, anxious and lacking in self-confidence because of your skin.
If you want a clearer complexion, it might be a good idea to ditch dairy. Body builders who use steroid hormones or whey-based supplements to stimulate muscle growth are more prone to acne. These hormones increase oil secretion in the skin which can lead to blocked hair follicles and large, pus-filled spots. As two-thirds of the cow’s milk you buy is taken from pregnant cows, when hormone levels are sky-high, it follows that avoiding dairy could also help combat acne.
Not only that, but a diet rich in fruit and veg is high in vitamin A, C and E, along with other vitamins and antioxidants, which help your skin stay healthy.
4. I can tell by the way you smell
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 odor hedonicity.” In other words, vegans smell sexier.
4. All night long
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.
5. Always be my baby
Okay, so perhaps not one to worry about on the first few dates, but if being a parent one day is important to you, you’d be wise to eliminate meat and dairy before they eliminate your chances of having children.
Meat and full-fat dairy foods have been linked to fertility problems in men, with those eating the most having fewer and slower sperm. Men who eat the most fruit and vegetables have been found to have higher quality sperm that swim faster.
It follows that, for men wanting to start a family, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains – which means more antioxidants, vitamins, folic acid and fibre – may be a good and inexpensive way to improve fertility.