A traditional Mediterranean diet, including plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive
oil, can cut the risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED) for men in later life. For the best
results, men are also advised to limit their intake of red meat, dairy, and sugary processed
Furthermore, Men’s Health magazine reports that there’s no need to make a full diet
switch, as even smaller adjustments can make a big difference. For example, if you normally
put white bread and pasta in your shopping basket, you could try swapping them for whole
grain and brown pasta.
The main reason that many people are advised to adopt a Mediterranean diet is to protect
their hearts. This is because the diet is rich in omega-3, which controls the amount of fat that
enters your bloodstream, which in turn prevents the arteries from becoming furred up, and
keeps the blood pressure within the optimum range.
Anything that is good news for the heart is also good news for healthy sexual function in
men. This is because the smaller blood vessels around the penis are the most vulnerable to
Commenting on the findings, Julie Ward, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘It’s no
surprise the Mediterranean diet, which we know is beneficial to heart and circulatory
health, might also benefit blood vessels elsewhere, and help men maintain healthy sexual
It’s also possible that the foods, which are rich in antioxidants and fibre, help to fight off
inflammation in the body. This can ensure that the circulation remains strong, and as a
result, men are less likely to suffer from ED.
Researchers at the University of Athens found in a study of 670 men, that men who were
most successfully protected ate around 13 portions of vegetables a week, plus six pieces of
fruit, three servings of fish, and two portions of beans. They cut their risk of developing ED
by up to 40%, well into middle age and beyond.
The study was led by Dr Christina Chrysohoou. She said: ‘What we found here is that the
Med diet has a positive effect on aortic dilatation. It keeps your blood vessels healthy and
helps men maintain sexual function. And of all of the components of the Med diet, it is the
olive oil that has a specific effect on aortic dilatation and sexual function as well.’
The diet is also a good aid to weight loss, as it contains plenty of fibre, which helps you to
feel full for longer, and curbs the appetite. Men who maintain a healthy weight tend to also
maintain good hormone levels into middle age. This is the primary male sex hormone which
controls the sex drive and makes it easier for men to get aroused.
Men who follow a healthy diet and have no other medical issues, but still have trouble with
ED may be advised by a doctor or pharmacist to try medication which is specially designed
to increase blood flow to the penis.
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