Food and sex are two of life’s most distinct pleasures, and often they go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s a fancy dinner date or a cozy home-cooked meal, eating can set the stage nicely for intimacy between you and your partner. But did you know that what you eat could also make you more likely to experience erectile dysfunction, or exacerbate your symptoms?
At , lifestyle coaching is an essential element of our care plan for erectile dysfunction, and dietary changes are often an integral part of a man’s treatment. But why is food so important, and what does it have to do with your performance in bed? Let’s discuss the correlation:
Healthy blood flow means healthy erections.
When treating erectile dysfunction and providing general health advice for healthy sex, the men’s health experts at ZestED will often focus on blood pressure and cholesterol as a gauge. This is because your ability to achieve a healthy erection through the rest of your body. If your blood flow is generally compromised by high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you’ll find that your penis is no exception when it’s time to enjoy sex.
But what does this have to do with food?
The fact is, your diet can be make-or-break when it comes to healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood flow. Your arteries can easily become blocked with cholesterol if you cram foods high in triglycerides, fats and sugars, including:
- Red meat
- Fatty meats, like bacon and sausage
- Baked goods made with lard and shortening
- Whole milk dairy products
- Alcohol, especially beer
Lowering your cholesterol level can also help reduce your blood pressure. If your arteries are blocked due to high cholesterol, your heart will need to work harder to pump blood through your body, eventually leading to hypertension (and potentially causing additional damage to your heart). If you’re predisposed to high blood pressure or have been diagnosed already, you should be avoiding foods high in sugar and salt, including:
- Deli meats
- Pickled foods
- Canned and frozen foods
- Sweetened drinks, like soda and sweet tea
While keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure levels reasonable can definitely help fight erectile dysfunction and lead to healthier erections, the benefits of tailoring your diet to prevent these conditions go far beyond the bedroom. Protecting your heart can help you last longer in bed, and in life: according to researchers, hypertension is more common in men under 50 than in women of the same age, and .
So, what should I eat?
Sure, we’ve discussed what foods to avoid when trying to improve blood flow and fight ED -- but can anything actually help you achieve healthy sex and a healthy heart? At ZestED, our men’s health specialists are happy to say “yes!” You may have heard of the DASH diet in passing, but we strongly recommend it as part of our lifestyle counseling for patients in treatment for ED. DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, and it’s designed to afford you a truly balanced diet while helping you avoid foods that will compromise your blood pressure. The DASH diet outlines the following portions and food types:
- 6-8 servings of whole grains a day
- 4-5 servings of fresh or frozen vegetables a day
- 2-3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy a day
- 6 (1 ounce) servings or fewer of lean meat a day
- 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds or legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc) a week
- 2-3 servings of healthy fats and oils (low in saturated or trans fat) a day
- 5 servings of sweets or sugars a week
While the time table afforded by the DASH diet is easy to follow, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what exactly a “serving” means when you see it on your plate. If you need a reference, check out these .
As you make changes to your lifestyle and diet to help you achieve better sexual health, don’t forget that a men’s health specialist can be an extremely helpful resource for all your more specific or individualized questions. At , your personal Care Coordinator will work one-on-one with you in the comfort of your home to help you develop a plan that meets your needs.