Does Diet Affect ED?

Tuesday 9 November 2021
Erectile Dysfunction
4 minute(s) read
Dr.Heather Bartlett

Medically reviewed by

Dr Heather Bartlett, MD

on 23 November 2022

Table of Contents

I. Diet and Erectile Dysfunction

II.ED Risk Factors Caused by Unhealthy Diets

III. Foods for Erectile Dysfunction

IV. More Than Diet

V. Treatment Methods for ED

Diet and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects about 30 million men in the U.S. [1] Physical and psychological factors can contribute to ED, but this condition is not a normal part of aging. A poor diet can worsen ED symptoms by increasing the risk of associated health conditions. If you are diagnosed with ED, your doctor may prescribe brand-name or generic Cialis to help you overcome symptoms. 

Men can achieve erections if the blood vessels in the penis can relax and fill with blood. If this process is disrupted, erectile dysfunction occurs. A healthy diet helps erectile function by promoting vascular health and blood flow. An unhealthy diet can cause the veins and arteries to clog, increasing the risk of ED.  

ED Risk Factors Caused by Unhealthy Diets

Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis) are the most common physical risk factor for ED. This condition occurs when the inner lining of an artery hardens from plaque buildup. Atherosclerosis is commonly caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. A poor diet is linked to a high risk of these conditions, which is how your diet can affect your ED.  

coarse salt on a spoon

Cutting back on salt may improve your symptoms. Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, weakening your vascular system. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Salt can be replaced by basil, cloves, cumin, and other spices to keep your meals flavorful. [2] But you should discuss your specific sodium needs with your physician.

A diet high in refined carbohydrates can also worsen ED symptoms by increasing the risk of diabetes. Refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic index, which means a high impact on blood sugar levels. Try avoiding white bread, white rice, and pasta made with white flour. Many food items made with refined carbohydrates have added sugar, increasing the risk of obesity. 

Foods for Erectile Dysfunction

If your current diet is high in sodium and refined carbohydrates, there is no need to worry right away, but it likely is time to take action. A dietician can quickly help you improve what you eat. A good place to start is to increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies show that the natural vitamins and fiber from fruits and vegetables can significantly lower your risk of artery disease. There are several ways you can implement natural home remedies for ED to improve your condition. Be mindful however, that even natural whole fruit contains fructose, which its intake may need to be monitored as well if you are trying to make nutrition changes. Speak with your physician and nutritionist regarding this. 

a vegetarian salad with chickpeas, kale, and broccoli

You can also lower your risk of ED by switching to leaner cuts of meat and keeping your portion sizes moderate. Alternative sources of protein include beans, nuts, and legumes.

More Than Diet

Eating healthier is an important part of reducing your ED symptoms. However, your diet is only one factor influencing your vascular and erectile health. Bad habits, like smoking, are detrimental to the arteries. Studies show that erectile dysfunction is twice as likely to occur in smokers than non-smokers. You may also want to check with your doctor if you suspect you may have an underlying condition. It’s important to ask your doctor any questions you have about erectile dysfunction like does low testosterone cause ED?

Psychological factors, such as depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress, can cause ED in physically healthy men. Research shows that mental factors are responsible for up to 20 percent of all ED cases. If your doctor determines that your symptoms are related to psychological causes, you may be referred to a therapist. Whether you attend counseling alone or with your partner, seeing a psychiatrist can help you overcome your ED symptoms and improve communication within your relationship.  

two men sitting at a table

Treatment Methods for ED

Speak with your doctor about your treatment options and learn the possible side effects to make an informed decision. Erectile dysfunction medications are typically tried first before surgical options are considered.

Popular ED medications include Cialis (tadalafil)Viagra (sildenafil), and Levitra (vardenafil). These ED drugs are known as phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors and work by promoting blood flow to the penis. If you want to save time and money on erectile dysfunction medications, visit RxConnected today. 

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.