Looking to crank up the heat after a date night? You and your love can get in the mood vegan-style with these aphrodisiacs and our sexy menu of delicious meat- and dairy-free decadence to get you in the mood.
But first, what actually is an aphrodisiac? And do they really work?
What is an aphrodisiac?
The ancient Greeks believed that certain foods, like fruits and herbs, could increase someone’s desire to have sex, boost performance, and even maximize pleasure. This is why the word “aphrodisiac” is derived from the name of the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.
But the concept of an aphrodisiac isn’t unique to one culture. References to foods or remedies that increase sexual desire and performance have been found in ancient Middle Eastern, Egyptian, African, South American, Roman, Chinese, and Indian records.
How well do aphrodisiacs work?
There is some evidence to suggest that certain foods may help to improve sexual performance. Walnuts, for example, contain an amino acid called L-arginine, which may help to increase blood flow to the genitals. But, that said, this will only help those who already have issues with blood flow.
As for everyone else, there is no real evidence that states any one food can definitely heighten sexual arousal. But research does suggest that a healthy diet can support a healthy sex life.
“Much of the lore surrounding the desire- and performance-enhancing effects of certain foods is anecdotal. But a good diet can help boost your libido and ensure your body is working well. A poor diet can lead to a host of health issues, which may negatively [affect] your sex life,” Tara Gidus, MS, RDN, writes for Healthline.
What is the best vegan aphrodisiac?
Following a diet rich in plant-based, whole foods may help to boost your sex life, because, as research suggests, it’s one of the healthiest ways to eat. But which is the best vegan food for sex?
Here, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite foods that have been labeled aphrodisiacs in the past and why. And at the end, we also talk you through how to eat them all in one go. A raunchy three-course meal awaits.
This nut is one of the earliest-cultivated foods and has been regarded as a symbol of fertility throughout history. In fact, the tradition of having almonds at a wedding began during Roman times—guests would throw the nuts at newlyweds. It is also thought that the smell of almonds incites passion in women.
A delightfully spicy leafy green that’s part of the cruciferous vegetable family, arugula has been hailed as a powerful aphrodisiac since the first century! Plus, it contains beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health by combating free-radical damage and nourishing our bodies.
Touted as an aphrodisiac as early as the 17th century, asparagus boosts potassium and folic acid, the latter of which is said to boost histamine production—a necessary component in reaching orgasm for all sexes. Bridegrooms in 19th century France were served three courses of asparagus at their prenuptial dinner.
Avocados are high in omega-3 fatty acids and potassium, as well as vitamin B6, which is known to increase male hormone production. They were thought to be so effective, in fact, that Spanish priests used to forbid their parishioners from eating them.
Regarded as a symbol of fertility by Hindus, the banana has a sensual shape and is chock full of potassium and B vitamins, both needed to produce sex hormones. Additionally, bananas contain the male libido-enhancing bromelain enzyme.
This member of the mint family helps promote circulation and is believed to stimulate sex drive. In Moldavian folklore, a man is destined to fall in love with a woman if he accepts a sprig of basil from her.
Chocolate is a staple gift for a reason—the food is full of compounds including anandamide, a psychoactive feel-good chemical, and phenylethylamine, a chemical that releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain and produces feelings of excitement and happiness. Cacao also contains tryptophan, which is essential for the brain to release serotonin, a “happiness” chemical.
Believed to have been in the Garden of Eden, figs were also Cleopatra’s favorite fruit and the ancient Greeks associated them with love and fertility. Figs are a great source of flavonoids and antioxidants, and some research has suggested that figs may even increase sexual stamina.
This member of the onion family contains allicin, an ingredient that increases blood flow. In both Hinduism and Jainism, garlic is considered to increase desire, in addition to warming the body. It is well known, however, that this little bulb creates some strong breath when eaten. Steer clear on a first date.
This ancient starchy Peruvian root is well-studied in terms of its ability to increase sexual desire and is considered a nutritionally robust plant due to its fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, and selenium. Maca can also help balance hormones in women, alleviating symptoms of menopause while giving sex drive a boost. Most often found in powdered form, it makes for a tasty addition to many vegan recipes, but especially in desserts. Maca’s earthy sweet taste pairs well with raw cacao, which enhances everything from puddings to ice creams.
Rich in flavor and healthy fats, heart-healthy walnuts can help keep arteries flexible, which means better blood flow to certain parts of our bodies … and better blood flow is something we definitely want when it comes to getting in the mood. In addition, with more antioxidants than any other nuts, walnuts support the body’s overall health and vitality, which are all great things when it comes to maintaining and promoting a healthy sex drive!
Try out all these mood-boosters in one fell swoop with these tasty dishes. Start out the evening with some Almond Stuffed Mushrooms before moving on to Avocado Salad topped with raspberry dressing. For the main course, treat your date to Walnut, Arugula, and Basil Pesto pasta with sides of Rainbow Chard with Figs and Roasted Asparagus with Hazelnut Picada. Let’s not forget dessert! Chocolate Fondue with figs, bananas, and strawberries and a Chocolate Ganache Torte are two sweet choices for your lucky honey.