Best Food Choices for Good Erection Health
Limit salt consumption, and increase your intake of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein for heart and erection health.
The notion that you are what you eat is hardly a new one. Nineteenth-century French lawyer/politician Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who was also widely recognized as a gourmand, usually gets credit for first putting this thought into words. In his ¨Physiology of Taste,¨ published in 1825, Brillat-Savarin wrote: ¨Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.¨
Although it may have been stated somewhat differently, this observation is one that has been repeated by countless others over the last couple of centuries. In essence, of course, it means that your body and health ultimately reflect the type of diet you follow. If you rely primarily on fast foods to fuel your body, it is apt to be reflected in your levels of fitness and heart health. In contrast, eat healthy to look and feel healthy.
Also True for Erectile Health
This truism applies as well when you’re focusing on specific aspects of your body and its ability to function at optimal levels. In the case of men hoping to prevent — or at least postpone — erection problems, a healthy diet can go a long way toward achieving that goal.
If you’re looking for general guidance for a diet that is supportive of erectile health, you can pretty much adopt any diet that has been given the seal of approval as ¨heart-healthy.¨ The relationship between heart health and penis health is so close that erection problems are quite often a warning sign that you may be running the risk of a heart attack or stroke somewhere down the line.
General Dietary Guidelines
As to general guidelines for such a diet, MayoClinic.com offers eight steps that, if followed faithfully, will support both heart health and erectile function. But in addition to its outlines for a heart-healthy diet, we’ll also be looking at some specific foods that have been identified as erection-friendly.
- As its first recommendation for heart-healthy eating, MayoClinic.com stresses the importance of controlling portion size. As reflected by the portions served in most U.S. restaurants, Americans eat far more than is healthy, which helps to explain the obesity epidemic. A healthy portion of pasta, for example, is a half-cup, roughly the size of a hockey puck, while a reasonable serving of meat, poultry, or fish should be just about the size of a deck of cards.
- The second tip from MayoClinic.com is one you’ve probably heard many times, and that is the recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-sodium canned vegetables, and canned fruit that is packed with juice or water, not syrup. Steer clear of frozen fruit with sugar added, canned fruit packed in heavy syrup, coconut in any form, fried or breaded vegetables, and vegetables with creamy sauces.
- Next up on MayoClinic.com’s list of dietary dos and don’ts is a recommendation to opt for whole grains over heavily refined grain products. On the acceptable list here are whole wheat flour, whole grain bread, cereals with 5 grams or more of fiber per serving, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, barley, buckwheat, oatmeal, and ground flaxseed. Grain products to avoid include white refined flour, white bread, muffins, frozen waffles, corn bread, biscuits, doughnuts, granola bars, cakes, pies, egg noodles, high-fat snack crackers, and buttered popcorn.
- To avoid the so-called bad cholesterol, known scientifically as low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, avoid all foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats. Read nutrition labels, and try to keep your daily consumption of cholesterol to 300 milligrams or less. If your doctor has advised you that your LDL levels are already high, limit your daily cholesterol intake to 200 milligrams or less. Not all fats are bad, and a certain amount of fat is necessary to keep your body at optimal levels. Good fats for your diet include canola and olive oils, trans fat-free margarines, and cholesterol-lowering margarines such as Benecol, Promise activ, and Smart Balance. Fats to avoid include bacon fat; butter; cocoa butter; coconut, cottonseed, and palm oils; cream sauce; gravy; hydrogenated margarines and shortening; lard; and nondairy creamers.
- Fifth on MayoClinic.com’s list of criteria for a heart-healthy diet is low-fat protein sources. You need protein, but your heart health and erectile function will benefit if you opt for low-fat protein foods, such as low-fat dairy foods, including low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese; egg whites or egg substitutes; cold-water fish such as salmon; skinless poultry; lean ground meats; legumes; and soybeans and soy products.
- Reduce your intake of sodium, excessive intake of which can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease and erection difficulties. For healthy adults, the recommended daily limit for sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams. The recommended daily intake drops to 1,500 milligrams for people 51 and over, African Americans, and people who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- To ensure that you stay on the straight and narrow, use the six guidelines already discussed to create daily menus that focus on healthy foods and exclude those that are problematic.
- A diet that doesn’t allow room for an occasional treat, such as a handful of potato chips or even a candy bar, is almost certainly doomed to failure. But it’s important to ensure that such indulgences are infrequent. And never use a slip-up on your diet as an excuse to ditch the whole thing.
Certain foods have developed a reputation as erection-friendly, so to the extent possible try to include them in your diet to reap the benefits they offer in support of the erectile function. Here are some examples:
- Bananas are rich in potassium, which stimulates blood flow by relaxing the smooth muscles lining blood vessels.
- Cherries and blue, purple, and red berries have plenty of flavonoids that have potent antioxidant properties. These antioxidants can help clear free radicals from your blood vessels, optimizing blood flow to the penis and other organs.
- Garlic lowers blood pressure, increases the body’s production of nitric oxide, a key player in the erectile process, and also helps your body to synthesize more testosterone.
- Ginger also has potent antioxidant properties, which can sweep free radicals from blood vessels and improve blood flow.
- Grass-fed butter and grass-fed beef are rich in vitamin K2, which helps to reverse arterial calcification and thus improve blood flow, essential to the erectile process.
- Nutmeg contains high levels of myristic acid, which stimulates nitric oxide production.
- Oysters, long touted as nature’s aphrodisiac, are high in zinc, which not only improves blood flow but also increases testosterone production.
- Pistachios are high in arginine, which promotes nitric oxide production and helps to improve blood flow.
- Pomegranates and pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure, reduce the plaque lining the walls of your blood vessels, and significantly increase your body’s production of nitric oxide.
- Raw cacao products, such as cacao powder and raw, unprocessed, and unheated dark chocolate, are loaded with flavonoids and other nutrients that support the erectile function. If you can’t find unrefined cacao products such as those we’ve cite, don’t make the mistake of opting instead for a milk chocolate bar. The nutritional differences are too great to list here in detail.
- Salmon, an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, also works to increase the body’s production of nitric oxide.
- Spinach is an excellent source of nitrates, which help to dilate blood vessels, thus increasing the volume of blood they can carry to the penis and other organs.
- Walnuts — raw, unsalted, and unroasted — is rich in arginine, an amino acid known to stimulate nitric oxide production.
- Watermelon is high in citruline, which stimulates your body to increase its production of nitric oxide, which in turn helps increase blood flow to the penis.
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Don Amerman is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of nutrition and health-related topics.