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Men's Health

This portion of our health library caters solely to men. Here you will find articles that discuss topics of interest to men seeking to lose weight.

Erectile Dysfunction and Diet

Find out how your diet may be influencing your sexual performance as it relates to ED. There is no reason that aging should hold you back from the game.


When you were 21 years old - it probably seemed like there wasn't much you couldn't do. Play football all day and bounce back from a late night without a single thought. While you might not be able to run quite as fast as you did then, and you might not swing a baseball bat with quite as much force, there is no reason that aging should hold you back from the game. That holds true for sex, too.

Some of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction are related to vascular health, which results in poor blood flow to the penis. Seventy-five percent of erectile dysfunction is a result of vascular disease, neurological issues, diabetes, or prostate-related surgeries.

Affecting over 18 million American men, erectile dysfunction can be a major indicator of overall health. Smoking, alcohol use, being overweight, stress or anxiety, and living a sedentary lifestyle puts men at a higher risk for developing erectile dysfunction.

When it comes to diet and erectile dysfunction, there are some common threads. A Chinese study revealed higher incidences of erectile dysfunction in factory workers exposed to bisphenol-A or BPA – which is a known hormone disruptor. Where do you find it? Usually BPA is used as lining in canned goods during processing. It is also used inside water bottles, and a variety of other places, like your receipts from the store. BPA –even in small amounts—can inhibit sex hormones in men, and exacerbate symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Lower intakes of fruits and vegetables, as well as forgetting to floss and gum disease are both associated with higher rates of erectile dysfunction. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables contains large amounts of heart-healthy nutrients, such as fiber, polyphenols, and bioflavonoids – all of which improve the health of your blood vessels throughout the entire body. Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which can travel through your bloodstream and affect the health of your blood vessels, including the blood vessels in penile tissue. Flossing every day can help prevent gum disease, and erectile dysfunction related to vascular health.

Luckily there are some quick ways to improve vascular health, which will not only improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction, but also overall health.

The same activities and lifestyle habits that are associated with heart health, can also improve some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

5 Ways to Avoid or Improve ED

1. Walking & Exercise

A variety of studies have shown that starting to walk regularly can help improve blood flow and vascular health all over your body. It also helps reduce blood pressure, which can improve the flexibility of blood vessels throughout your entire body. If there is one, major action you can take to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction and increase blood flow, exercise is going to give you the most bang for your buck. You can lift weights, or do cardio exercises like running or biking, as both of these are beneficial to heart health.

2. Fruits and Veggies

Men who consume greater amounts of fruits and vegetables have a decreased occurrence of erectile dysfunction. This is probably due to higher intakes of potassium being linked with consuming fruits and vegetables daily. Potassium is essential for vascular health and flexibility, and to balance electrolytes for healthy water balance. Fruits and veggies are also rich in bioflavonoids and polyphenols, which can help improve the health of your arteries. And don't forget fiber, which fruits and vegetables contain aplenty. Fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels in your body, which will take you leaps and bounds ahead in the race for heart health.

3. Get Your Vitamin B12

Some recent studies have linked vitamin B12 deficiency with erectile dysfunction. You can get vitamin B12 from animal sources such as dairy products, egg yolks, and meats like chicken, fish, turkey, beef, lamb, and pork. Or, take a supplement - like one that dissolves under your tongue. Vitamin B12 helps ensure your nerves are healthy and able to conduct signals properly.

4. Assess Your Heart Health

Your doctor can tell you just where you stand with your heart health - but you have to make an appointment first! Assessing your cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein can really shine light on your vascular health.

5. Lose Weight

This one is essential for improving symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Extra weight means decreased blood flow, and extra inflammation in your blood vessels. Both of these contribute to symptoms of erectile dysfunction. One of the best ways to lose weight is to control your portions, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, and skip processed foods like hamburger buns, desserts/sweets, and snack foods like potato chips. Making sure you consume the right amount of protein each day will help you lose weight and as a result - losing weight can help improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on February 27, 2016. Updated on May 08, 2018.


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