Man laying down peaking under his sheets.

How to Increase Blood Flow to the Penis: Foods, Exercise, Meds

If you are having trouble getting and maintaining an erection, it’s very likely that increasing the flow of blood to your penis will go a long way toward remedying the problem. The good news is that there are a variety of interventions that you can try that have proven successful for millions of men. Read on to discover tips on altering your diet, changing your exercise program, giving up some unhealthy habits and taking medication to increase blood flow to your penis. These habits set you up to revive and re-energize your sexual health.

Why Blood Flow Is Important

The key to getting and maintaining an erection is all about blood flow. When a man’s brain becomes sexually excited, it sends signals to his nerves to release the chemicals that increase blood flow through his vascular system (his blood vessels and arteries) to his penis. Blood flows into the two erection chambers of the penis, causing the chambers to become firm, and the penis erect.

For men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED), decreased blood flow is a key reason that they experience decreased firmness of erections, shorter lasting erections or a more difficult time achieving an erection. As men age, such factors as clogged arteries, high blood pressure or pelvic trauma can all contribute to these lower levels in blood flow.

So how can you increase your blood flow?

  • Stop Smoking. 

Smoking cigarettes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, in part because of the stress that smoking puts on your body. Much of this stress directly affects the heart, which is responsible for maintaining good blood flow in your body. This means that cigarette smoking has been identified as a direct cause of ED.

When you smoke, the chemicals in the cigarettes cause the cells in your blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed, narrowing the blood vessels and allowing less blood to pass through. This can additionally cause your blood vessels to become more rigid, and more likely to become built up with plaque – a coating of fat, cholesterol and other things that impede the flow of blood.

Even smoking as few as four cigarettes a day has been proven to cause heart and vascular problems.  Heavy smokers  (those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day) have double the likelihood of developing ED over those who smoke less — and even if they stop smoking, it will take more interventions to reverse the ED. Smokers who have smoked less, and for less time, however, have a chance of reversing the damage, and studies have shown that successfully stopping smoking using nicotine replacement therapy significantly improved erectile function within a year.

  • Eat a Healthy Diet. 

In one key study, men who ate a diet of natural, whole foods decreased their likelihood of suffering from erectile dysfunction. This diet, which is the same prescribed by cardiologists to strengthen your heart, will help increase blood flow to your penis and increase erectile function.

When planning out your heart-healthy and blood-flow promoting diet, look to eat smaller amounts of whole, natural foods while staying away from prepackaged and processed foods. Here are other tips for eating well for good blood flow and heart health.

Two people sitting down eating healthy salads.

DO Eat:

Smaller Portions:  Americans tend to over-serve themselves and misjudge how much food they need. At home, use a small plate or bowl to control how much you are eating at a meal. Eating less will help you lose weight, lowering the stress your heart feels in needing to pump blood to extra tissue.

More Vegetables and Fruit: Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene, all of which are good for your heart, and therefore your blood flow.  Both Vitamin C and beta-carotene are antioxidants, which prevent the plaque buildup in your heart and blood vessels. Choose fresh, canned or frozen vegetables (not fried), with no added sugar.

More Whole Grains: Eating more whole grains (like oats, barley, whole wheat and brown rice) help lower the levels of cholesterol in your blood, meaning there is less cholesterol to build up in your blood vessels. Oats and barley in particular contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that is particularly effective at lowering your cholesterol.

Low-Fat Proteins: The fat in meat is often called “saturated fat,” which increases the levels of cholesterol in your blood (and heightens the chance that your blood vessels will get clogged). Choosing low-fat dairy products, eggs, fish, skinless poultry, beans, and lean ground meats will lower the levels of saturated fat in your blood.

DON’T Eat:

Trans Fats: These types of fats, found in many fried, processed and packaged foods, are made in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, allowing the oil to become solid at room temperature. It’s less likely to spoil, so it gets used in packaged baked goods, and also in many restaurant deep fryers. Trans fats are particularly bad culprits at clogging up your blood vessels. Learn to read labels and stay away from anything that says it contains “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.”

Beef, Organ Meats or Processed Meats: Foods like fatty beef, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, fried meats or full-fat dairy products contain large amounts of saturated fat, which can clog your blood vessels.

High-sodium and Salty Foods: If you eat a lot of salty, high-sodium foods, this runs the risk of increasing your blood pressure and reducing your blood flow. That’s why lowering your sodium intake is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Again, processed foods (like canned soups) are a big culprit for added sodium. Look for “low-sodium” products and aim to keep your salt intake under 2,300 milligrams of salt a day (about a teaspoon).

  • Exercise.

Engaging in regular, consistent physical activity has been proven to protect against erectile dysfunction and improve erectile function for men who have ED because of poor blood flow. Indeed, physical activity has been identified as the one lifestyle change that you can make that can have the biggest effect in your blood flow and vascular health.

When you engage in moderate to vigorous exercise for a minimum of 40 minutes at least 4 times a week, (or weekly exercise of 160 minutes), you lose weight, lower your blood pressure and increase blood flow to all the parts of your body.

Moderate exercises are those that get you moving fast enough to burn three times as many calories as normal. For many people this would be an exercise such as walking at 3 to 4 miles an hour, mowing the lawn, bicycling on flat ground or playing tennis. Intense exercise burns 6 or more times as many calories. Exercises in this category for most people include hiking, jogging, playing basketball or bicycling fast and up hills.

  • Medications.

Lifestyle changes such as eating right and exercising will go a long way to helping increase the blood flow to your penis. Many men, however, will also need the help of medications designed to do exactly that.

Man holding a red and white capsule.

Every year, more men turn to medications to help increase their blood flow, get and maintain erections.  The use of medications such as Viagra, went up by 312 percent in men ages 18-34 and 216% among men aged 45-55 just between 1998 to 2002.

The four main medications that increase blood flow to the penis are Sildenafil (sold as name-brand Viagra), Tadalafil (sold as name-brand Cialis or Adcirca), Vardenafil (sold as name-brand Levitra or Staxyn) and Avanifil (sold as name-brand Stendra). All four medications work by enhancing the levels of nitric oxide in the blood, which causes the muscles in your penis to relax, and blood to flow more easily into the chambers necessary to cause an erection.

While injectable medications such as Alprostadil do exist, the four medications listed above are by far the most commonly taken by men and have proven to have excellent results in treating erectile dysfunction.

Men who cannot get an erection easily or have trouble maintaining a firm erection have many avenues that they can try to improve their sexual health and satisfaction. Many lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, and losing weight can help. Thousands of men every year, however, turn to life-changing erectile dysfunction medications and revive their sex lives.

Are you ready to try ED medication? If so, please visit We’ve been helping men with ED issues since 1998, and have the caring and discreet staff that you are looking for to help you decide which medications are best for you. We have 630,000 satisfied customers who help us maintain our A+ Better Business Bureau rating and are waiting to help you.

On our site, you can set up a no-cost consultation with a USA-licensed physician and/or pharmacist and be ready to quickly and discreetly move forward with getting back on track to a fulfilling and healthy sex life. Why wait? Call us at 1-800-467-5146 seven days a week or chat with an agent on our website.

Elizabeth Nichols is an experienced and flexible author with extensive experience in both popular media and academic publishing. She specializes in health, medical and travel writing.