The type and quantity of food consumed matter when it comes to having and maintaining a healthy sexual life. The healthier the diet, the higher the chances of having a healthier sexual life.
Hard to believe? Well, researchers discovered that the chance of developing erectile dysfunction decreases when healthy eating becomes the norm.
Consuming a Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
Before we fully delve into foods that cause erectile dysfunction, let’s first understand what erectile dysfunction is, how and why it happens.
What is erectile dysfunction?
The NHS Journal defined it as a multidimensional but common male sexual dysfunction that involves an alteration in any of the components of the erectile response, including organic, relational, and psychological. In simple terms, it means not being able to get or keep an erection strong enough for good sexual performance.
How and why does erectile dysfunction happen?
Two main things can make it hard to get and keep an erection: physical and emotional or psychological things.
In terms of physical factors, ED happens for some reasons, like:
- When there’s limited blood flow into the penis, which is mostly caused by diabetes, artery problems, or high blood pressure.
- The inability of the blood to stay in the penis while erect.
- Certain surgeries and treatments may lead to ED.
- Side effects from drug use can cause erectile dysfunction.
The psychological causes of ED have to do with the mind.
Since erectile dysfunction has been identified as a blood circulation issue, the body requires diets that can help maintain the blood vessels and keep them in good condition to lower the chances of blood flow problems.
Now, let’s get back to the main gist!
These foods have been found to raise the risk of having an erection problem, so they should be avoided or cut back on,
People who eat a lot of foods with a lot of saturated and trans fat are more likely to have too much cholesterol in their blood vessels, which leads to atherosclerosis. The buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in and on your artery walls. When the arteries are clogged, there is a risk of suffering from the following :
- Coronary artery disease (CAD),
- Carotid artery disease,
- chronic kidney disease.
- Peripheral artery disease
- Aneurysms will depend on the artery that is clogged.
ED can stem from damage to nerves and blood vessels caused by poor long-term blood sugar control. This explains why ED is a common problem for men who have diabetes.
An article reviewed by Dr Kevin Chua, a family physician accredited by the Ministry of Health (MOH), noted that “Diabetes can cause ED because it can damage the blood supply to the penis and the nerves that control an erection.” In addition, the increase in blood sugar levels inhibits the production of nitric oxide. Low levels of nitric oxide are often found in those with diabetes. This can mean that there is not enough blood flowing into the penis to get or keep an erection.
Another angle to this is that a high intake of sugary foods increases the calories in the body, which causes weight gain and, in turn, increases the fat in the body and arteries.
Intake of large amounts of alcohol affects the communication between the brain and the penis that leads to blood flow. In an article, The Indian Journal of Psychiatry notes that a higher quantity of alcohol consumed equals a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction. They say that 72% of men who drink too much had one or more sexual problems, the most common being premature ejaculation, low sexual desire, and problems with the erectile system.
As said earlier, too much fat in the blood vessels can lead to clogging of the arteries, which in turn limits the movement of blood to the penis. Most of the pieces of red meat people consume are made up of a high level of saturated fats, which produce high cholesterol and aid in hardening the arteries. Dr Boris Schwartz, a naturopathic doctor and health writer, stated that “meat has been shown to harden arteries and decrease blood flow, something that can exacerbate heart and blood flow problems in men.” Avoidance of red meat or a reduction in intake can reduce the risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
Most foods are fried in hydrogenated oil, and some are fried more than once. The oil mostly contains trans-fat, which clogs the arteries and prevents the easy circulation of blood to different parts of the body, including the penis. The inability of the blood to pass to the penis results in erectile dysfunction. Manhattan Medical Associates intimates that “fried foods often create blocks in vessels and the heart, causing severe heart disease, some cancers, and high cholesterol issues. Since these foods lead to substantial amounts of weight gain, erectile dysfunction becomes more or less inevitable. ” You have two options here: cut down on fried foods or make use of healthier types of oil like coconut oil. The best option is to totally avoid fried foods and lower your risk of clogged arteries.
Soy products are known to be high in estrogen. Constant intake of soy products can produce excess estrogens, which interferes with testosterone production. An increase in the level of estrogen in the bodies of men, especially, results mostly in lower libido and erectile dysfunction. Several studies have proven that soy reduces testosterone levels massively, to the extent that half a serving of soy per day is capable of slashing sperm count by 40% in healthy males.
Just like soy, they contain estrogens, which reduce testosterone in men. A study by E Source Research found that flaxseed contains a high concentration of lignans, a plant compound that binds to your free testosterone and causes your body to excrete it.
Chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and pesticides that disrupt the endocrine system are mostly found in canned foods or the plastics used in the packaging of these foods. Nature Review Urology carried out a study that revealed that “workers exposed to BPA had a significantly higher likelihood of reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, and reduced satisfaction with their sex lives.” The researchers also identified a dose-response relationship between BPA exposure and the risk of sexual dysfunction.
Carmen Roberts, a registered dietician and health writer with HealthCentral, noted that “Researchers have found that a diet limited to refined or “simple” carbohydrates is linked to a lower ED risk. She recommends eating complex carbohydrates (like whole-grain cereals) that are higher in fibre and protein than simple carbohydrates made from refined white flour (such as white bread, chips, crackers, and snack foods).
Dairy products mostly contain a high amount of saturated fat. These fats harden the arteries and block the circulation of blood to the penis, which is one of the major factors that lead to erectile dysfunction.
According to this study by the Central European Journal of Urology, “the probability that there is a relationship between soft drink consumption and erectile dysfunction is very high.” It is best to avoid them to assure yourself healthier sex life. Instead, drink lots of water. However, the study notes that a long-term study is needed to get statistical proof of the hypothesis. But as the saying goes, “better safe than sorry.” It’s best to avoid them to assure yourself of healthier sex life. Drink lots of water in place of flavoured sodas. If you get bored of drinking just water, liven things up by adding herbs, lime, berries, or even ginger to your water.
This is a popular variety of mint herb that is commonly consumed, and while it has some health benefits, the problem it poses for men shouldn’t be overlooked. A study by Phytotherapy Research found that intake of spearmint or mints generally indeed reduces testosterone while increasing female hormones. A decrease in testosterone leads to ED.
A healthy diet is a step forward to reducing the risk of developing erectile dysfunction and increasing erectile function. Meeting and discussing with your doctor is the next and ultimate step towards erectile function.