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Natural foods to help with erectile dysfunction: What to eat and avoid

What to eat and avoid

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can make it difficult for a person to achieve or maintain an erection. Following certain diets or eating specific foods may help contribute to successful treatment.

This article examines what foods people could include in their diet to help combat ED.

A quick look at the best foods for ED:

  • Berries
  • Salmon
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and legumes
  • Herbs and spices
  • Meats and poultry
  • Leafy greens
  • Tea and coffee

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), ED affects roughly 30 million men in the United States. A person’s chance of developing this condition increases with aging and taking specific medications, including antidepressants and blood pressure drugs.

Smoking, being physically inactive, or having a health condition such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease, can also lead to erectile function problems.

In addition, one article notes that the main cause of ED is poor vascular function. As a result, the risk factors for ED are the same as those for cardiovascular disease.

A 2018 study with participants aged 18–40 years old found that those consuming a higher amount of flavones in their diet improved their ED.

Flavones are a sub-compound commonly found in fruits and vegetables. They are part of their parent compound, flavonoids, usually found in teas, fruits, and vegetables.

The concentration of flavones in specific foods, includes:

  • chamomile tea
  • bergamot juice
  • artichoke heads
  • kumquat
  • bell peppers

However, a food’s number of flavones displays in ranges. For example, bell peppers can have 0.1–12.9 milligrams of flavones per 100 grams of fresh weight. This may indicate that the source quality of fruits and vegetables has an effect on the number of flavones in the final product.

According to research, the following foods may have properties that help to prevent or treat ED:


A 10-year prospective study of 25,096 middle-aged males indicated that those who consumed the most flavonoids had a 9–11% reduced incidence of ED when compared with those who consumed less.

The authors observed that the chance of ED reduced by up to 19% in those who ate the following five flavonoid-rich berries and other fruits:

  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • apples
  • pears
  • citrus fruits


A 2016 study of rats looked at the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and ED. The study found that a higher intake of omega-3 helps lower physiological damage, which in turn may lower ED.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists cold-water salmon as one of the most fundamental foods for omega-3 intake. Farm-raised salmon may have slightly fewer nutrients as omega-3 comes from the algae, which is not common in fish farms. The levels of omega-3 in farmed salmon largely depend on what the fish eat.

For higher intakes of natural omega-3, individuals should consume more wild salmon from cold waters.

Olive oil

A 7-year study of clinical trials examining the relationship between Mediterranean diets and ED lists olive oil as a beneficial ingredient.

However, the study only examines virgin and extra virgin olive oil. This could be because any oil that goes through a refinement process changes its molecular structure.

The study looks at what refining does to food oils, including olive oil. It shows that it can destroy antioxidants and omega-3 anti-inflammatory properties. This also removes the properties that could benefit ED.

Individuals who want to incorporate oils in their diets for ED and other health benefits should consider unrefined and extra virgin olive oil.

Whole grains

A 2017 study also examined the effects of grains on ED.

The results conclude that a Mediterranean diet, which includes whole grains, is more beneficial to treating ED than a low fat diet.

This could mean that a healthy balanced diet that includes whole grains without potentially harmful additives such as pesticides, can benefit individuals with ED.

However, researchers should perform more studies to understand the overall health benefits of whole grains, particularly in comparison to keto or low carb lifestyles.

Nuts and legumes

A 2020 study found that eating nuts and legumes may help lower ED.

The Agriculture Research Service (ARS) states that legumes are the only natural food containing catechins and epicatechins — compounds that make up one subset of flavonoids, flavan-3-ol.

However, there are no studies that compare the differences in each type of nut or legume and its realistic effect on ED.

Herbs and spices

The ARS also lists herbs and spices that have high amounts of flavonoids.

These include:

  • parsley
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • chives
  • tarragon
  • oregano

Meats and poultry

A food component that could benefit ED is l-arginine — an amino acid found in protein-rich foods.

2017 research suggests that l-arginine levels are lower in males with ED. The body uses l-arginine to make nitric oxide. This is a molecule that widens and relaxes blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the penis.

Foods that are good sources of l-arginine include:

  • poultry
  • red meat
  • fish
  • nuts
  • dairy products

Learn more about foods that are high in l-arginine here.

Leafy greens

Nitrates are food compounds that can increase nitric oxide levels. Research suggests that they may also reduce blood pressure and inflammation.

Foods that contain high levels of nitrates include:

  • arugula
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • radish

Tea and coffee

A 2020 study states that teas increase flavonoids as part of a healthy diet.

One 2018 study examining the impact of coffee on ED found that long-term coffee intake is not associated with the risk of ED. In fact, since coffee contains antioxidants, moderate levels may help build resistance to inflammation.

There are some foods that a person may wish to avoid when managing ED, including:


According to Action on Sugar, regularly eating foods that include substances considered unhealthy or drinking beverages containing sugar can lead to weight gain and a high body mass index (BMI).

An older article notes that excessive body weight and an increase in BMI can lead to ED. The researchers state that in 2014, there were 8 million cases of ED that were related to diabetes and obesity.

High fat meals

People who have high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, obesity, and those who smoke may have an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis. This occurs due to plaque buildup in the inner lining of the arteries.

As a result, this reduces the oxygen supply and blood flow to the organs.

In addition, according to Wayne University School of Medicine, men who have clogged heart arteries may also experience issues in the arteries that supply blood to the penis.


Alcohol can also affect a person’s sexual health.

An older article found that 72% of men with alcohol dependence had one or more sexual health problems, such as premature ejaculation, low sexual desire, and ED.

Excessive alcohol consumption can also reduce blood flow to the penis, so individuals may not be able to achieve an erection.

Several options can help treat ED. These include:


According to the NIDDK, doctors can prescribe any of these drugs to help individuals maintain an erection:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra): MedlinePlus states that a person should take sildenafil an hour before engaging in sexual activity. They can take it with or without food, but the drug may take longer to work if people consume a high fat meal. Learn more about sildenafil here.
  • Tadalafil (Cialis): According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), Cialis can treat ED and symptoms of an enlarged prostate. A doctor may also prescribe it for people who have pulmonary hypertension in some cases. In addition, individuals can take tadalafil 30 minutes before having sex but should not take more than one pill in one day. The NHS explains that tadalafil may not be a good option for individuals who take nitrates, as these can lower their blood pressure when interacting with the ED drug. Learn more about tadalafil here.
  • Vardenafil (Levitra): This is a tablet that dissolves in the mouth, so people do not need to drink water to swallow it. Individuals can take it when required, but an hour before sexual intercourse. Also, MedlinePlus explains that a person should immediately place the tablet on their tongue after removing it from its blister pack. Learn more about vardenafil here.

Learn about the most effective medications for ED here.


The NIDDK mentions two surgical procedures that urologists may recommend for people with ED:

  • Implantation: Doctors may also refer to these as prostheses. They may use inflatable implants, that can make the penis appear longer, or malleable implants. These are devices that allow individuals to adjust their penile position.
  • Reconstruction: This may be the best option for those under the age of 30. During this procedure, the doctor repairs the arteries preventing individuals from maintaining an erection.


Exercise may help individuals manage ED symptoms.

In a 2018 article, researchers advise that a 160-minute weekly exercise over a 6-month period can help reduce erectile problems that occur with obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.

The article also mentions other interventions that can help improve erectile function. These include:

  • pelvic floor muscle training
  • quitting smoking, if a person smokes
  • following a healthy diet

Learn about the best exercises for ED here.

ED equipment

A range of tools and equipment is available to help people with ED. For example, penis pumps help support erections without the need for medication.

Learn more about penis pumps here.

Herbal products

There are many herbal or all-natural products on the market.

However, individuals should be aware that these may be ineffective or even dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that its lab tests found over 300 of such products with undisclosed ingredients or excessively high dosages. The FDA warns that consumers are being misled by many of these all-natural brands and products.

Learn more about the natural and home remedies for ED here.

A person should contact a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms of ED:

  • they can get an erection sometimes, but not every time they want to have sex
  • they are not able to maintain an erection during intercourse
  • they are unable to get an erection at any time

A doctor is likely to ask the person about their medical and sexual history. They may also examine the person and perform some tests.

If the doctor diagnoses the person with ED, they can then recommend treatments. They may also advise certain lifestyle changes that research has shown to benefit sexual function. These may include the person doing more exercise, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and reaching a moderate weight.

Learn more about treatment options for erectile dysfunction here.

It is also important for individuals to consult a doctor to rule out any other potential health issues, such as cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure.

Here are some answers to common questions about ED:

Is there any food that works like Viagra?

Switching to a healthy balanced diet high in flavonoids may complement the treatment of long-term erectile dysfunction.

However, individuals should be aware that many potentially unsafe products claim to have the same effect as Viagra but with natural, herbal alternatives.

The FDA advises individuals should proceed with caution when exploring such products and ensure they are fully aware of the possible side effects.

What is the best fruit for erectile dysfunction?

Strawberries and other berries may best complement ED treatments, especially if free from harmful pesticides.

Other beneficial fruits include apples, pears, and citruses such as oranges and lemons.

What is the fastest way to cure erectile dysfunction?

The quickest way to treat erectile dysfunction will depend on many factors, including a person’s age and underlying medical conditions.

Alongside a doctor-recommended treatment plan, individuals may notice an improvement in their symptoms by maintaining a balanced diet and getting regular exercise and sleep.

Those with ED may find that eating certain foods and maintaining a healthy diet helps their symptoms if they are unable to take medication or find it ineffective.

However, a person should consult their doctor if they have symptoms of ED. The doctor may also want to discuss any potential coexisting health issues.

People should also check with their doctor before taking any supplements or increasing the intake of specific foods, especially if they take other forms of medication.

Foods to Help Erectile Dysfunction

Medically Reviewed by Nazia Q Bandukwala, DO on January 17, 2022

We know pills, pumps, and surgeries work for erectile dysfunction, but what about food? Are there things you can eat that can help with ED? There are reasons to think there may be, even if there is no scientific evidence to prove the potential of the following foods.

This sweet, refreshing fruit has a compound that can have effects similar to ED meds on your blood vessels. It may even rev up your sex drive, studies say. Most of watermelon is water, but the rest is loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that’s good for your heart, prostate, and skin.

These shellfish may boost your testosterone levels, and that can help with sex drive. They’re also chock-full of zinc, a nutrient your body needs. But you may save yourself problems by making sure they’re cooked. Make sure you know where they come from, and that they’re cooked properly.

Your morning cup of joe is more than a satisfying pick-me-up. It may give your love life a boost, too. Men who drank two or three cups’ worth of caffeine a day were less likely to have erectile dysfunction, one study found. That’s because caffeine helps boost blood flow. Not a java fan? Many teas, sodas, and sports drinks also have caffeine.

This treat may have perks below the belt. An ounce a few times a week can help your ticker — and what’s good for your heart could be good for other parts, too. Chocolate is rich in flavanols, plant nutrients that can increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. It also helps your body make more of nitric oxide, which can help with erections and is in many ED medications.

Walnuts have lots of arginine, an amino acid your body uses to make nitric oxide. They’re also good sources of vitamin E, folic acid and fiber. Don’t add more than a few small handfuls to your daily diet, though. Nuts are high in calories.

Maybe you enjoy an adult beverage made from grapes, but here’s a reason to drink the stuff kids like. Nutrients in Concord grape juice also increase the amount of nitric oxide in your body. If you’re not wild about drinking grape juice, try pomegranate juice. It appears to have the same effect.

The strong-smelling bulb may help between the sheets. If plaque forms on the walls of the arteries, blood flow could be cut off or reduced. That could cause a problem when it comes to romance. Garlic in your diet may help keep your arteries healthy and clear as you age.

Salmon and other fatty fish are great sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may boost nitric oxide in your body. They’ll lower your blood pressure and your risks for heart attack and blood clots. Aim for 8 ounces of salmon a week. Sardines, fresh albacore tuna, and mackerel are other good sources of omega-3s.

Kale is also a nitric-oxide booster. Aside from the possible benefits to your sex life, leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and omega-3s.

You might spice up your love life by adding some chili peppers to your diet. The stuff in cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros, and other peppers that give them their heat relaxes the arteries — and that helps blood flow to the heart and other organs, including the penis. Chilies can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent blood clots.

Olive oil may help your body make more testosterone. It’s also full of the good-for-you monounsaturated fat, which can help get rid of the bad cholesterol in your body. Opt for extra-virgin olive oil — that means the olives were pressed without chemicals or high heat, which preserves the healthy antioxidants.


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American Chemical Society: “Hot Pepper Compound Could Help Hearts.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Heart Health Benefits of Chocolate.”

Derouiche, A. Natural Product Communications, January,2013

Doumanian, Leo MD, associate professor of clinical urology at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Eatright.org: “Feed Your Body Right,” “Top Foods for a Healthy Heart.”

Fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org: “About The Buzz: Concord Grapes for Healthy Circulation,” “About The Buzz: Green Leafy Veggies Promote Healthy Blood,”  “Go Bananas,” “What are Phytochemicals?”

Harvard Health Publications: “Key Minerals to Help Control Blood Pressure,” “Lycopene-Rich Tomatoes Linked to Lower Stroke Risk.

Harvard T. H. Chan School for Public Health, The Nutrition Source: “Nuts for the Heart.”

Medline Plus: “Garlic.”

Megan Wroe, MS, RD, Fullerton, Calif.

Merck Manual: “Atherosclerosis,” “Erectile Dysfunction.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine: “Garlic.”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Erectile Dysfunction.”

National Institutes of Health: “Zinc.”

Netter, A. Archives of Andrology, August, 1981.

Oregon State University Extension: “Go Green. Growing and Enjoying Leafy Greens.”

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Five and Five: Necessary and Unnecessary Foods for Men

A nutritionist talks about the five foods that a man should have in his diet – fish, nuts, beef, pomegranates and tomatoes. And the least welcome guests on the dinner table are soybeans, beer, chips, sausage… and mint! Why? Read on for details!

Russian quality and
Aif.ru continues a series of joint materials. On the eve of February 23, the topic of interest is what to feed the defenders of the Fatherland in order to add strength, health, and endurance to them? What foods should be limited?

Our expert talks about it

Mariyat Mukhina

doctor of medical sciences, nutritionist, reflexologist

The five most necessary products for a man

1. Oily fish

Men should eat fatty fish such as salmon, sockeye, mackerel, anchovy, herring and sardine. The meat of these fish contains calcium, selenium, B vitamins, magnesium. In addition, fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Fish should appear on the menu at least twice a week, 150–200 grams each. In this scenario, a man is waiting for an increase in immunity and mood, activation of mental activity, a decrease in the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and depression.
It is also useful to eat caviar and milk of the above-mentioned fish. These by-products have a positive effect on the fertile functions of men, increase the number and motility of spermatozoa.

2. Nuts

Nuts as a stimulant of potency and nervous activity are recommended for men by andrologists. A man should eat 25–35 grams of nuts daily, mixed with honey. Best to use hazelnuts and pecans, macadamia, walnuts and pine nuts .
Nuts contain youth vitamin E, which slows down apoptosis (slow cell death), is an excellent antioxidant

, an angioprotector, improves the rheology of blood clots.

3. Lean Beef

Beef contains protein, which is a substrate for building muscle. It is rich in iron, which is involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin, which is necessary to supply the muscles with oxygen. In the men’s menu, lean beef should be at least three times a week.
Remember that healthy beef is boiled, steamed, in pies or dumplings. In general, in those dishes where it is without a fried crust. If the meat is fried, carcinogens lie in wait in the crust


4. Pomegranate

Contains vitamin B1 (thiamine), a lot of manganese, selenium, tryptophan, protein, magnesium. It has a beneficial effect on potency – it is not for nothing that pomegranate is called herbal Viagra. In addition, it is very useful for the functioning of the prostate gland. Acts as a prophylactic against adenoma and prostate cancer.

What happens if a man eats half a pomegranate three times a week? Immunity is strengthened because white blood cells are activated, which absorb toxins, destroy viruses and bacteria, and heal damaged tissues. Lowers blood sugar, lowers cholesterol


5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes in any form – fresh, baked, stewed, boiled – and their processed products are recommended by oncologists and andrologists due to the content of the antioxidant – lycopene , which has anti-carcinogenic properties – reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer, pancreas, and also helps to treat male infertility.

The five most dangerous foods for men

1. Beer

In general, alcoholic beverages are very harmful. But andrologists and nutritionists do not advise men to drink beer: it is a “female” drink.
Hops, which is part of beer, contain phytoestrogens – substances that interact with the receptors of female sex hormones and are the cause of the development of the classic “beer” belly, female-type fat deposition, and increased cholesterol. In addition, beer generally disrupts fat metabolism, causes fatty degeneration of the liver and bile stasis.

The dose of beer for beer gourmets can be no more than once a week and certainly not every day, as some men are used to doing.

2. Potato chips

The most terrible carcinogenic product that provokes the development of benign tumors in the intestines and can increase the risk of cancer. In America, chips in the form of sticks are jokingly called “cancer sticks”.
In addition, in men after 45 years of age, the risk of developing colon cancer and the formation of polyps increases. Therefore, for those who have reached this age, chips should be banned.

Unfortunately chips are cheap and many people eat chips in large quantities. Meanwhile, chips are very high in calories, and, worst of all, they contain large amounts of fat. Fats and salt. The use of such products leads to cardiovascular problems.

3. Soy

Andrologists do not recommend that men eat soy, as well as products from it – sauces, soy milk, tofu. After all, soy contains vegetable estrogens, which worsen the male hormonal background and contribute to the occurrence of erectile dysfunction.

In addition, with regular, daily use of soy, gynecomastia can occur – the growth of the mammary glands in men, as well as a decrease in the number and mobility of spermatozoa. Moreover, if you use soy products infrequently, only once a week, then there will be no harm.

Please note that soy is a part of many sausages, which means that you should not eat such sausage or sausages every day.

4. Bacon

Bacon is salted and smoked pork. However, there is a lot of fat in bacon. And, as a rule, this delicacy also gets fried on the table, because many people cook scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. All these components make the product of little use.

  • Smoked meats increase the risk of cancer.
  • Pork fat is a depot of pig estrogens, and they directly worsen the hormonal background in men. In addition, fat is calories – in the diet of an adult male, there should be no more than 50 g of fat per day. Pork fat is difficult to digest, for its processing the body spends glucose, which is necessary for the full functioning of the brain. If pork fat is combined with alcohol, then it immediately hits the liver.
  • Salt retains water in the body, causes swelling and disruption of the water-salt balance. Bacon is contraindicated (from the word “absolutely”) for kidney disease.

If everything is in order with your health, still limit yourself. You should not eat this delicacy more than once a week and more than 100 grams.

5. Mint

This spicy plant, like hops and soy, is rich in hormone-like substances – phytoestrogens. Therefore, mint is traditionally called female grass. If a man regularly consumes mint, drinks tea with it, etc., this can significantly reduce the amount of testosterone and, most dangerously, reduce libido – sexual desire.

In conclusion, I remind you that food should be varied and healthy, nutrition should be balanced. Remember: the main enemy of a man is severe stress, emotional overwork and prolonged depression. This is something to be avoided!

Products that increase potency in men

Let’s be honest – chronic erectile dysfunction cannot be corrected with nutrition alone. However, enriched nutrition can improve the situation in case of a temporary decrease in potency, not associated with diseases such as prostatitis or adenoma.

1. Foods with a high content of B vitamins, as well as zinc and selenium, should be added to the diet.

Vitamins of group B – improve the conduction of nerve impulses and enhance the reactions of the penis during sex;

Zinc – maintains testosterone levels;

Selenium – is involved in the production of testosterone.

2. It’s important to understand that fortified foods are not drugs, so don’t expect immediate results. In order to get the result, it is necessary to consume fortified food for a long time, including certain foods in the diet every day (list below). Then the concentration of the necessary substances in the male body will gradually increase.

List of products that increase male potency

    beef pumpkin banana tuna oysters sesame
    turkey avocado avocado swordfish mussels saffron
    veal turnip fig anchovies octopuses marjoram
    chicken celery feijoa tilapia shrimp oregano
    ginger nutmeg
    asparagus cardamom
    sweet potato anise seed
    ground pepper

    What else to do to increase potency?

  • Of course, dietary modification is important, but not enough. In order to increase potency you need:
  • 1. Improve blood circulation in the pelvis through exercise.
  • 2. Train the PC muscle. This is a muscle directly involved in raising the penis.
  • 3. Improve innervation – that is, the speed of transmission of impulses from the brain to the penis. Use the Shiatsu technique, for example.
  • 4. Relaxation. This is an important phase for both the muscles and the psyche. Use self-relaxation techniques.
  • 5. Enrich your food with potency-enhancing foods.

By the way, our doctors have written a 21-day potency improvement program. Includes:

Block 1: products + recipes for food enrichment to increase potency.

Block 2: specific exercises to improve blood circulation in the pelvic area and the schedule for what time and how much to exercise.

Block 3: specific exercises for training the PC muscle, indicating the number, time and duration of the exercises.