Erectile dysfunction (ED) is fairly common, affecting up to 30 million men across different ages in the United States alone. The good news is that it’s treatable, and you can go back to being able to achieve and maintain an erection.
Medication such as Viagra works. Hormone replacement works just as well. As does eating right. Yes, you can prevent and manage ED with some changes to your diet.Book an Appointment
What then should you add to or remove from your eating plan that will be beneficial in treating ED?
1. Nitrates and Folates in Vegetables
Spinach, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, and other leafy vegetables are rich in nitrates, as are other non-leafy vegetables like beets. Nitrates serve as excellent vasodilators, meaning that they help to open up blood vessels and greatly improve blood flow.
The relaxing effect that nitrates have on the vessels supplying blood to the penis is something that has been pivotal in the formulation and manufacture of ED medication.
These leafy vegetables are also rich in folate, which also helps to boost blood flow. ED has been linked to a deficiency in folic acid, and ensuring that your levels are up with an intake of foods rich in folates takes care of this underlying cause.
2. L-arginine in High-Protein Foods
L-arginine is an amino acid found in certain protein-rich foods. These include poultry, dairy, fish, and nuts. Pistachio nuts, for example, stand out as being very rich in this amino acid.
Like the nitrates, the body uses this amino acid to aid in the production of nitric acid. The nitric acid relaxes blood vessels and, by so doing, boosts blood flow to the penis.
3. Lycopene in Deep Red Fruits and Vegetables
Tomatoes, watermelon, sweet red peppers, and red cabbage all have a high concentration of lycopene. Apart from these deep ret fruits and vegetables, the antioxidant can also be found in guavas, papayas, and asparagus.
In addition to helping with ED, this antioxidant also improves sperm quality, that is, improved sperm concentration and motility. Studies have also shown that it helps in the prevention of prostate cancer.Book an Appointment
Mixing with olive oil, avocados, and other oily foods ensure maximum absorption of lycopene from the foods that contain the antioxidant. A tomato and avocado salad with olive dressing can go a long way in treating your ED.
4. Phytonutrients in Water Melon
As mentioned, watermelon is rich in lycopene. Another phytonutrient that you will find in this fruit is an amino acid called L-citrulline. L-citrulline relaxes the blood vessels supplying blood to the penis in the same way that ED treatment medication like Viagra works.
It is worth noting that the body will convert the L-citrulline onto L-arginine, which is again, a precursor to nitric oxide. It is the nitric oxide that is responsible for vasodilation.
5. Zinc in Shellfish
Adequate levels of zinc, be it from natural dietary sources, or supplements, promote proper levels of testosterone in the body. A zinc deficiency would therefore most likely translate to low testosterone levels, which is a prominent underlying cause for ED.
A mild zinc deficiency is easy to manage with some changes to your diet. Shellfish, including oysters, have been shown to contain high levels of zinc. You can also get zinc from seeds, nuts, wild rice, and wheat germ as well as poultry meat among other foods. Your physician may recommend dietary supplements if yours is a case of severe deficiency.
6. The Mediterrerenean Diet
Instead of trying to add just one food or the other to your eating plan, why not add them all and enjoy the benefits? You can do this with the Mediterranean diet. This diet comprises of fruits, vegetables, nuts, oily fish, pulses, and olive oil. Each of these foods is rich with micronutrients that are beneficial for combating ED, as already outlined. It’s therefore the go-to, all-around diet if you want to prevent or treat ED.
7. Watch Your Alcohol Consumption
As you add more healthy foods with proven benefits for ED management to your diet, you should also think about quitting, or at the very least, reducing how much alcohol you drink. If you are a heavy drinker, your chances of experiencing ED are significantly higher compared to your teetotaler buddy.
alcohol ranks high up among depressants, and as such may dampen your desire for sex. For most people, it’s quite difficult to get it up and keep it up when under the influence. Things become worse when you overindulge, and that is the more reason why you may want to watch your drinking. Healthy juices from the fruits and vegetables highlighted would be an excellent substitute.Book an Appointment
See a doctor
Schedule an appointment today with one of our doctors for more information on how nutrition can help with your ED. Our physicians will also explore other options including lifestyle changes and medication, as best suits your case.