I came across an enlightening study while doing my post grad work in Sexual Health. Esposito et al in 2009 found that a Healthy Heart Mediterranean diet low in saturated fats found in dairy and meat (less than 5% of calories) and high in mono & unsaturated fats, like olive oil (10% or more of calories), with 30 gm of fiber per day and regular cardio exercise resulted in over 60% of impotent men getting their erectile function back. This is a stunning result and it was the first study to show the benefits of a healthy diet on erectile dysfunction.
It has now been established that there is a relationship between heart health and mature onset erectile dysfunction and it is an important indicator of how well your cardiovascular system is doing. In fact, there is a very high risk that you will have a heart attack within five years of losing your erection. You can think of it as God’s early warning wake up call, especially to motivate men to improve their health. The good news is that if you have begun to notice you are having less firm erections and the familiar morning glory is less frequent, taking action now, eating less meat and more seafood, onions, pulses, vegetables, fruit, red wine, switching from butter to extra virgin olive oil (not margarine), and exercising more, you can do something to regain your sexual function AND save your life.
It no surprise really that the two are linked. Both heart disease and erectile dysfunction have a common origin which relates to inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels and low Nitric Oxide levels. Nitric Oxide is one of the bodies main antioxidants and also a chemical messenger that triggers the dilation of capillaries allowing blood to engorge the spongy tissue of the corpora of the penis, making it firm and erect. Nitric oxide level decrease with ageing. Eating more high antioxidant foods like fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices adds to the bodies dwindling supply. Viagra and other Nitric Oxide Reuptake Inhibitors work by preventing the breakdown of Nitric Oxide after it has worked on the capillary lining, allowing it to be used again and again, effectively amplifying the signal.
While Viagra may assist with maintaining an erection, it can do nothing to improve your health and fix the underlying causes. Taking action to improve your diet and lifestyle is the most important and empowering thing you can do.
How to start
1. Switch to Olive Oil
To make it easier, I recommend making a variety of extra virgin olive oil “butters” to keep in the fridge. A good quality extra virgin olive oil will turn solid in the fridge. For everyday use just bung your extra virgin olive oil in the fridge in a container and spread it on toast or bread like you would butter/margarine. For something with a WOW factor, try making up a garlic oil, adding salt and a few juicy fresh cloves of crushed garlic (please not the stuff from China or crushed in bottles-buy seasonal local garlic). This is really nice spread on bread and then popped in the toaster or under the grill for instant garlic bread. I’ve got a batch in the fridge right now with garlic, parsley and thyme which I spread on my toast with poached eggs for breakfast- quick and YUM!
2. Eat more fresh herbs.
They are higher in antioxidants than most other foods. If you can eat at least one meal a day with a generous amount of herbs you will do well. Herbs are easy to grow in the ground or in containers. They are expensive to buy and for freshness you will never beat fresh picked. Tabouli is a great staple to have, added to wraps for lunch, added to eggs, salads, stews etc