Erectile dysfunction (ED) has many causes, but research has shown that obesity, hypertension (HTN), diabetes, stress, and anxiety have all been linked to ED. Our diets are filled with processed foods that are high in sodium and sugar and lack many vital nutrients. The food we ingest and our lifestyle choices affect ED and our overall health in general, and weight loss, exercise and stress reduction have been shown to improve ED symptoms.
A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that a Mediterranean diet decreased the likelihood of ED. A Mediterranean diet is high in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains, and low in red and processed meat and refined grains. Similar results were found in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study.
Since one cause of ED is reduced blood flow, choosing foods high in antioxidants and fiber may help combat this issue because they are considered anti-inflammatory. Foods known to be anti-inflammatory include broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, cauliflower, leafy greens, beets, blueberries, pineapple, salmon, flaxseed, chia seeds, turmeric, and ginger.
Additionally, foods high in flavonoids can decrease ED symptoms and help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrient, which are compounds found in plants. Phytonutrients have been found to have antioxidant properties, which help the body fight inflammation and disease. Fruits high in flavonoids are berries, apples, red and purple grapes, oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. Vegetables include onions, scallions, kale, broccoli, celery, and hot peppers. Flavonoids can also be found in tea, wine, soybeans, dark chocolate, and nuts.
Many websites state that specific vegetables can help with ED and sex drive, but there is limited research. However, most of these foods are fruits and vegetables, and high in phytonutrients, folate, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E, so there is no harm in adding them to your diet, especially if they replace processed sugary foods. Some of the foods that fall into these categories are watermelon, carrots, avocados, oysters, spinach, apples, and tomatoes.
Besides choosing what to eat, it is equally important to choose what NOT to eat. Foods that promote inflammation should be avoided, such as sugar, processed and packaged foods, refined vegetable oils, refined and processed grains, artificial sweeteners, sugary beverages and too much caffeine and alcohol. These foods cause inflammation and stress and may even cause fatigue or disrupt the hormonal balance.
If you’re struggling with ED and would like information about treatment options, contact us for a free phone consultation.