Best Foods for Erectile Dysfunction: Eat for Hard Erections
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be, to put it mildly, a considerable detriment to your quality of life. The impact of ED goes much further than in-the-moment embarrassment and disappointment; the inability to achieve or sustain an erection is directly connected to men’s health, both mental and physical.
If you’re dealing with this issue occasionally, that’s concerning enough—but if ED becomes a chronic source of frustration, it can lead to stress, affect your self-confidence, and even create challenges for your most dearly-held relationships.
Fortunately, modern medicine has avenues for you to take action and experience your best version of sexual health. But taking an ED pill isn’t your only option. There’s a surprising link between the best foods for erectile dysfunction and seeing measurable improvements in your sex life.
Wondering what those foods that help ED are? You’re in the right place.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction–And Are There Foods That Help ED?
We can define ED as the inability to achieve or sustain an erection, but the condition, its impact, and its causes go far beyond a simple description of what’s happening. After all, if you’re experiencing ED, what’s happening (and, notably, what isn’t) can seem very clear.
ED occurs when, in response to sexual stimulation, blood doesn’t flow to the penis and facilitate engorgement. As that process, which results in a hard erection, is necessary for typical sexual encounters, failing to see that happen can indeed feel like a failure.
It’s important to realize upfront that your ED isn’t you. You’re not failing. There are, simply, a few critical biological puzzle pieces that aren’t quite fitting together to allow the typical sexual preparation process to happen.
There are several factors that could play into this. For example, any of the following conditions could act as a block in that process:
- Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or high cholesterol, all of which can lead to reduced arterial blood flow, literally cutting off your blood en route to your genitals
- Neurological disorders
- Certain groups of medications, from antidepressants to benzodiazepines, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and even antihistamines
- Alcohol consumption (surprisingly, it’s true!)
- Psychological factors like stress and depression
For many of these, even if taking an antidepressant or managing diabetes didn’t directly block blood flow and contribute to ED, the condition itself might make you feel tired, stressed, and generally down—which aren’t mindsets or physical feelings that are themselves conducive to having a great sexual experience.
Fortunately, in addition to working with your doctor to pursue possible pharmacological solutions, you may be able to implement some tweaks to your diet, prioritize hard erection foods, and get the results that you want.
The Power of Diet in Combating ED: Your Menu for a Healthy Sex Life
Is it true that what’s on your plate in the dining room could really make a difference in the bedroom?
While this may seem far-fetched, eating the best foods for erectile dysfunction and avoiding foods or beverages that could disrupt blood flow or make you tired can have a massive impact on your sex life.
This makes sense, when you think about it: If diabetes and hypercholesterolemia, two conditions linked to food, contribute to ED, eating a healthy, diabetes-friendly, low-cholesterol diet could reduce ED symptoms.
But what are foods that help ED?
Generally speaking, high-fat diets are associated with artery blockage, which is helpful for neither general health and happiness nor optimal sexual performance. On the other hand, people who eat diets rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains may expect more helpful metabolic functions (and resultant sexual performance).
Fruits and Vegetables: Nature's ED Fighters
If you’re interested in increasing vascular health, fruits and vegetables should be your go-tos. Specifically, you’re looking for foods high in antioxidants and flavonoids.
What are those? Here’s a quick definition or two:
- Antioxidants are substances that can reduce the damage caused to cells by free radicals. (Free radicals are unstable molecules that can wreak havoc on your cells, caused by environmental or other types of triggers.) Antioxidants are your shield against that specific type of damage.
- Flavonoids are a wide variety of plant-based compounds that are rich in antioxidants. They’re also the substances largely responsible for the color and flavor of plants like fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Foods rich in antioxidants and flavonoids—basically, plants—can enhance blood flow and arterial health. This has been confirmed by many studies, such as one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linking a diet high in berries and citrus fruits to reduced risk of ED.
Some foods that could be especially helpful include:
Lean Proteins: Building Blocks for a Healthy Sex Life
Although fruits and fiber are essential for your hormonal and arterial health, you won’t get far if you only eat flavonoids. To achieve optimal hormonal balance, you’ll need to include some lean proteins in your diet.
Lean proteins can help you build muscle, feel satisfied, and improve your sexual health. And, in the case of some exceptionally nutrient-dense foods like clams and oysters, these lean proteins may come with specific vitamins and minerals critical for maintaining erections.
Just a few of these “hard erection foods” include:
- Clams, which are high in B12, L-arginine, and protein
- Herring, which are high in B12, as well as magnesium and vitamin D—all key for healthy sperm and testosterone production
- Mussels, which are high in B12, iron, and magnesium
- Salmon, which (in addition to being high in B12) is rich with B-6, protein, and omega-3 healthy acids, all of which help with healthy blood production
- Oysters, which are high in zinc and D-aspartic acid
- Grass-fed beef, which is high in B12, and can be an excellent non-seafood choice, if you’re so inclined
So far, we’ve covered two building blocks for healthy hormone balance and hard erections: Lean protein and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
There’s one final building block we need to cover.
Healthy Fats: Essential for Hormonal Health
Healthy fats are critical for systemic and hormonal health, but there’s a catch.
You absolutely must differentiate between “good” fats and “bad” fats—or, if labeling food as good or bad isn’t conducive to your best mental health, think about them as helpful or less helpful versions of a legitimate food group.
Here’s Why Healthy Fats are Among the Best Foods for Erections
Cholesterol is a substance that is made partly from fats. We hear a lot about cholesterol in the context of heart disease, and that’s accurate—but it’s not the complete picture of what cholesterol does in the human body.
Cholesterol is essential for making steroid hormones, producing bile, and helping your body benefit from critical vitamins. But that’s not all: Eating enough fat supports the proper function of the cell membrane of every cell in your body, since a primary building block of cell membranes is lipids, or fats.
Healthy fats can also help you reduce inflammation, which is pertinent to general health and erectile function. (If your body struggles with inflammation, it will be hard to either feel great or get blood to go where it needs to go.)
Finally, although it may seem counterintuitive, eating good fats supports your heart’s health, keeping you in tip-top shape and geared for maximum performance.
Of course, managing your fat intake properly is a matter of balance and finding those high-quality fats. You can’t just eat oil, avocados, and bacon; it’s vital to pair good fats with fiber and protein to feel and perform your best.
Which Fats are the Best Food for Hard Erections?
Prioritize the following, alongside your flavonoids and lean protein, and see how good you feel:
If possible, try to avoid unhealthy fats, such as processed and refined oils (think: soy, canola, sunflower, and corn oils), as well as any highly-processed food.
Unfortunately, unhealthy fats aren’t the only foods that may be worth avoiding if you’re interested in prioritizing foods that help ED.
Foods to Avoid: The Erectile Dysfunction Triggers
Just like there are foods to eat more that can help you achieve and maintain erections, there are foods and beverages that may have the opposite effect.
Whether you’re experiencing acute or chronic ED, whether you’re taking medication or you want to explore your other options, first, consider reducing your intake of the following and see how you feel.
Avoid for Hard Erections: High Sodium and Processed Foods
High sodium and processed foods can lead to increased blood pressure, which, in turn, can lead to reduced blood flow—and fewer erections. In addition, these fatty, processed foods may also lead to artery-clogging plaque.
Often, these foods will also be highly inflammatory, and they’ll cause oxidative stress on your body. This could result in damaged blood vessels as well as increased blood pressure. This is a recipe for many bad things, including ED.
Common high-sodium foods to consider cutting back on include:
- White bread and rolls
- Cold cuts and cured meats
- Prepared soups
- Burritos and tacos
- Cheese and eggs
Avoid for Hard Erections: Trans and Saturated Fats
We touched on it above, but it’s worth mentioning again: Foods that are high in saturated fats can increase LDL cholesterol, damage blood vessels, and elevate the risk of heart disease.
And have a negative impact on your ability to get a hard erection.
The “bad” kind of fats are also linked to higher rates of obesity, which can also increase your likelihood of experiencing ED.
Avoid for Hard Erections: Excessive Sugar Intake
Unfortunately, in addition to sodium and fat intake, to truly prioritize the best foods for erectile dysfunction, you’ll need to manage your sugar levels, too.
Diets high in sugar can lead to insulin resistance. Being insulin-resistant affects your hormonal balance, and can make it difficult for your body to make testosterone—a hormone you’ll need in abundance for proper erectile function.
Avoid for Hard Erections: Alcohol Consumption
It’s a hard truth, but one that may be helpful to hear: Alcohol, even when drunk in moderation, can slow your blood flow and make it more difficult for you to achieve hard erections.
That’s not all. If you drink in excess, that can put you at increased risk for mental health conditions such as depression. This can result in psychological ED, or a version of erectile dysfunction linked to stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental health factors instead of, necessarily or solely, physiological ones like high blood pressure.
Now, there’s one last thing we need to address.
This can look like a lot of very delicious foods that you’re going to need to start avoiding.
Here’s the truth: You don’t need to cut out all of your favorite foods to prioritize your sexual health.
In fact, that’s a great way to make sure you don’t make any progress—because cutting out delicious foods cold turkey, as it were, can be unbelievably tricky and lead to further stress.
Instead, see if you can start with simple swaps. Wheat bread, instead of white; sandwiches with more veggies; homemade or low-sodium soup, instead of prepared. That will allow you flexibility and room to enjoy your diet, even as you start seeing results.
Want ED Meds to Support the Best Foods for Erectile Dysfunction?
Eating foods that help ED can go a long way in helping you feel better at any time, whether you’re interested in getting hard erections or just feeling great in general. However, it’s important to realize that eating perfectly isn’t possible—and, for some people, even a really good diet won’t be enough to totally reverse ED symptoms. Genetics and environmental factors can be tough to overcome through lifestyle changes. And that’s okay!
Ready to save up to 90% on these and other generic and brand-name medications? Give our friendly customer service team a call, or place your private, secure, and timely order in just a few clicks. The team at NorthWestPharmacy.com looks forward to supporting you and your health journey.