The best 15 foods for erectile dysfunction
A healthy diet also improves your erectile function.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation are the most common sexual dysfunction issues in men in the UK. Regardless of the cause, many treatment options are available, e.g., drugs, physiotherapy, herbal remedies etc. The focus on non-medicinal approaches is gaining popularity due to the widespread side effects of ED drugs.
How much food is related to erectile dysfunction? Can you get any benefit from your diet in case of ED? Let's explore the role of nutrition and the science behind it.
Food and sexual health
In general, food has a role in almost all processes occurring in the body. To understand the role of nutrition, you must understand the important requirements of erection. A healthy erection requires;
Sensory stimulation (through sexual arousal)
Healthy blood flow
Chemicals that relax the blood vessels, e.g., nitric oxide (NO)
So, food that can strengthen your nerves, improve blood flow or increase NO production will help you stay erect. Let me introduce you some foods that help you in ED. Including these foods in your diet plan will be helpful for your sex life.
1. Coffee and tea
A sugar-free coffee contains few calories and is one of the lightest foods. It is a rich source of caffeine and antioxidants (e.g., flavonoids). Many studies have found that caffeine is very good for your cardiovascular system. It also improves your mood. Coffee and tea can also help in an erection. How?
A 235 ml cup of tea brewed for 2 minutes provides you with 172 mg of total flavonoids, which are well known to help in an erection. It was confirmed by a 2018 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine that flavonoid deficiency causes ED in young men.
Watermelon is a rich source of citrulline, one of the precursors of nitric oxide. The watermelon has 3.9-28.5 mg/g citrulline contents on a dry weight basis.
Eating a lot of watermelons will increase blood flow in the penis leading to a strong erection. Due to high citrulline contents, watermelon is included in the list of other penis healthy foods, e.g., cucumber, gourds etc.
3. Leafy greens
Leafy greens, e.g., spinach, lettuce, cabbage, kale and arugula, are nitrate-rich vegetables and are thus very good for the health of your penis. Due to their ability to relax the blood vessels and improve circulation, these vegetables are also highly effective for your overall health and help you to maintain healthy body weight.
These vegetables are also rich in folate, and a 2020 study published in the Andrology (a peer reviewed journal) found that folic acid supplementation improved erectile function in men with idiopathic ED.
Salmon is a part of the Mediterranean diet. It is a rich source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for endothelial health. Endothelial is the inner lining of the blood vessels. Thus, vitamin D promotes vascular health and circulation.
Healthy endothelial means it helps improve blood flow in the penis. Vitamin D also enhances erection by regulating blood pressure and also improves the production of nitric oxide. It also provides healthy fats to your body and its high zinc contents improve testosterone levels.
5. Poultry and red meat
Poultry and other meats are a very good source of L-arginine, an Amino acid which is a part of your body's proteins. L-arginine is a well-known precursor of nitric oxide. However, excess use of red and processed meat should be avoided.
The following foods are very rich sources of L-arginine;
Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are rich sources of good cholesterol (HDL). Good cholesterol helps you manage high blood pressure and lowers bad cholesterol levels (LDL). They also contain arginine, the precursor of nitric oxide.
The bad cholesterol is not good for your blood circulation as it will accumulate and form plaques in the blood vessels, thus compromising circulation and developing high blood pressure.
7. Berries and oranges
Berries and oranges (and other citrus fruits) are among the flavonoid-rich foods. Flavonoids are the antioxidants which stimulate blood flow and improve male sexual health. Hence, they allow you to have a very good erection after stimulation.
Jalapeno and chilli peppers are rich in capsaicin, responsible for their spiciness and typical taste. Traditional healers use this compound due to its anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. Capsaicin also improves erectile function, as an earlier study found that intraurethral infusion of capsaicin solution induced erection in humans.
You are not supposed to infuse the solution before sex, but including peppers in your diet can help.
Sweet peppers, e.g., bell peppers, are a rich source of flavonoids and carotenoids, the famous antioxidants that promote circulation and heart rate. These flavonoids also improve erection as described earlier.
Seafood, including oysters, fall in the category of aphrodisiacs, the foods that increase sexual desire, sexual pleasure and sexual attraction. Science has shown that these foods are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and zinc, promoting a healthy heart and higher libido.
The use of oysters to stimulate erection and libido was confirmed by a recent study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology that found that purified oyster peptides stimulated the production of testosterone, the cGMP and NO, the essential components of a successful erection.
Shellfish is a rich mineral source of zinc that improves testosterone levels. Including shellfish in your seafood diet will also improve your libido and erection.
11. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate also aids in erection and overall sexual health. Dark chocolate (Cocoa) is a good source of flavonoids and increases blood flow and NO production.
However, choosing dark chocolate for enhanced libido and erection is problematic as the desired strength (70% or more) will not be so good for your taste buds and adding milk and sugar (white chocolate) will cause other health issues.
Garlic is a source of sulfur-containing compounds and has anti-inflammatory properties. It has proven benefits for your heart and blood vessels. It helps prevent the formation of plaques inside the blood vessels and keeps your circulation in good order as you advance in age. An earlier study in 2002 found that the daily use of just 0.6g of garlic powder reduced blood pressure by 9% in the users.
However, its strong and pungent smell can do little help in bed. You should include it in your diet but don't forget to use mouthwash before bed!
13. Fruit juices
You might have enjoyed fermented grapefruit juice. Try some other juices, e.g., concord grapefruit juice and pomegranate juice. The nutrients in both of these juices increase the body's production of nitric oxide (NO).
You might look a bit childish, but this price is affordable in exchange for benefits in bed.
Apples are beneficial for your overall health. However, a recent study has shown that the apple peel is a rich source of ursolic acid that help in prostate cancer. This compound has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. It also increases the hypertrophy of muscles (of course, including the pelvic floor muscles).
Since prostate secretion is an important part of your semen, apples can help you in sex too. However, not only apples but all fruits have general health benefits that apply to sex too. You can use mixed fruits for added benefits.
Tomatoes are one of the antioxidant-rich vegetables known to be beneficial to prostate health, fertility and sexual health of men. At least two things have been identified in the tomatoes which improve sperm production and sperm health (and hence libido and erection), i.e., vitamin C and Lycopene.
If you have erection dysfunction, you should consult your physician as it will not go away with any food. However, carefully including these foods in your health plan will decrease erectile issues and improve your overall sexual health. If you are concerned about your sexual health, you can ask your nutritionist to include these foods in your diet.
Fruits, vegetables and other aphrodisiacs are very good for your reproductive health. It is a good practice to reduce your intake of processed foods and shift towards organic foods for added health benefits.
If, however, you are not getting any benefit from food, don't worry; we have more solutions available for you at Welzo. Click here to visit our erectile dysfunction information page containing products and consultation services related to sexual health.
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