With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to write about vegan foods that get people’s mojo working. What’s more romantic than a cruelty-free libido, right?! What I found in my research, though, was that aphrodisiacs are greatly misunderstood and actually vary from person to person. So, I’m gonna get a bit in-depth here and give you the 4-1-1 on what makes an aphrodisiac. Let’s jump in!
What exactly is an aphrodisiac? Generally speaking, it’s an agent that arouses sexual desire. While in pop culture, we tend to associate aphrodisiacs with foods, drinks, and potions, the agent can actually be anything. ANYTHING. Anything that turns a person on. So, if your husband turns you on, he’s your aphrodisiac. If listening to music gets you going, music is your aphrodisiac. If the sight of palm trees makes your motor run, then palm trees are your aphrodisiac. No judgement here.
But let’s limit our scope to simply food. Is there any truth that certain foods can kick up your libido?
Yes and no. Not exactly the answer you were looking for, I know.
In order to maintain a healthy sex-drive, you must have good circulation. That ensures that there’s enough flow to your genitals to get them started, and enough to maintain that roaring engine throughout the process. Sexy, huh? So, true, edible aphrodisiacs are basically any food that helps promote that circulation, i.e. heart health.
The good news is that this qualifier rules out most meat and cheeses. YAY! The better news is that it’s so easy for a vegan to get more than their fair share of these heart-healthy foods. While most fruits and vegetables support a healthy circulatory system, some foods outshine others due to their high levels of certain substances. These substances include:
- antioxidants, which increase blood flow: blueberries, carrots, collard greens, grapes, green tea, kale, nuts, pomegranates, raspberries, red wines, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes
- L-arginine, an amino acid, which relaxes blood vessels, promoting better blood flow: almonds, chickpeas, lentils, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, seaweed, sesame seeds, soybeans, spirulina, walnuts, watermelon seeds
- lycopene (an antioxidant), which helps prevent plaque in the arteries: asparagus, basil, carrots, cinnamon, grapefruit, guavas, mangoes, papayas, parsley, persimmons, red cabbage, red peppers, tomatoes, watermelon
- niacin, which improves blood flow: avocados, beets, brown rice, green peas, mushrooms, peanuts, potatoes, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes
- vitamin C, which helps keep blood vessels flexible and prevents plaque build-up: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, kiwis, mangoes, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
- vitamin E, which helps widen the blood vessels and prevents blood clots: almonds, avocados, broccoli, butternut squash, hazelnuts, kiwis, mangoes, peanuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, red peppers, spinach, sunflower seeds
As you can see, there are a lot of options when it comes to aphrodisiacs. And the above list is by no means a complete one.
Something else that factors in when determining whether a food item is an aphrodisiac is the placebo effect. Yes, that’s correct. The belief that something is going to work as one can be powerful. So, if someone believes that strawberries really turn your genitals into energizer bunnies, then it may just work for them. And while I don’t recommend debating the semantics of aphrodisiac perception in the heat of the moment, it may make for good pillow talk after. What’s sexier than true intellect, right?
Well, I hope you’ve learned something. And I hope you have a vegan-ful Valentine’s Day!