Can Diet Affect Erectile Dysfunction?

Several lifestyle factors affect whether a man can achieve and maintain an erection. One of these factors is diet. Not only does a person’s weight affect their ability to get an erection, but a person’s diet can alter other aspects of their health that could contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED) as well.

Low-Fat Diets Appear Ideal

Foods that are bad for a person’s heart negatively impact a man’s ability to achieve an erection. Foods high in fat content have the ability to raise a person’s cholesterol and restrict blood flow. This decrease in blood flow limits how much blood reaches the penis. Basically, any food that puts a person at risk for a heart attack could eventually lead to ED. Research shows a diet rich in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables keep a person’s heart strong and promote optimal penile health. Additionally, the research showed men who eat a diet with heart-healthy fats like those found in olive oil tend to have fewer problems achieving an erection. 

Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction 

There’s a link between ED and obesity. One study focused on 2,435 Italian male patients. All participants sought out treatment for ED between the years of 2001 and 2007. Of all of these men, 41.5 percent had a normal BMI while 42.4 percent were overweight. Only 12.1 percent were obese, and four percent suffered from severe obesity. The study concluded by stating that a decreased testosterone level corresponded with the degree of obesity a man suffered. For example, those who had severe obesity had lower testosterone levels than any other group. Fortunately, even men who are obese are able to use an erectile dysfunction medication to treat their problem. 

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

Type II diabetes is often the result of a poor diet. Being overweight also increases a person’s risk for the issue. As diabetes progresses, it causes nerve damage in various places throughout a person’s body. Sometimes, the condition causes nerve damage in the penis, which causes ED. 

Soy May Play a Role 

Soy does have a positive impact on cardiovascular health, but it seems to have a negative impact on sexual performance in men. It appears that foods consisting of soy like soybeans, soy milk, and tofu seem to affect a man’s sexual health. Both soy and soy isoflavones seem to boost a male’s estrogen level and decrease his testosterone levels.