Food for Thought: How Diet Impacts Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual health problem, especially in men over 40. It’s simply defined by a chronic issue with achieving and maintaining an erection throughout sexual activity.
Erectile problems are something most men will experience occasionally, whether due to worry, tiredness or relationship problems, but for some men the condition won’t go away.
We’re going to take a closer look at the relationship between diet and erectile dysfunction, exploring whether what you eat could make a difference to your symptoms.
What you drink matters more than what you eat
While food can have a part to play in erectile dysfunction, the clearest connection can be found between erectile dysfunction and what you drink. Or, more specifically, erectile dysfunction and alcohol.
Drinking excess amounts of alcohol has been shown to impact sexual health in many ways. For women, this might take the form of reduced lubrication or fewer orgasms, while for men it primarily increases the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.
One 2007 study found that 61% of alcohol-dependent participants involved in the research reported sexual dysfunction, the most common form of which was erectile dysfunction, followed by a reduced sexual desire. In many patients, these two symptoms coexisted.
Excess weight can affect your sexual health
What you eat can also play a part in erectile dysfunction, namely by looking at your diet overall. An unhealthy diet increases your risk of carrying excess weight, leading to conditions like obesity. This can make erectile dysfunction more likely.
A study from 2014 found that almost four out of five (79%) of men with erectile dysfunction possess a BMI of 25kg/m2 or greater. They also concluded that obesity leads to erectile dysfunction to a considerably greater extent than ageing.
Erectile dysfunction is far more common in overweight and obese men than in healthy weight men. In fact, figures show that carrying excess weight can increase your chances of erectile dysfunction by between 30 and 90%.
Can food help?
Although there is little scientific evidence to suggest that certain foods hold the power to alleviate and worsen symptoms of erectile dysfunction, the healthiness of your diet overall can definitely play a part.
Changing your dietary habits to be healthier, helping you lose excess weight, can help to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction. In one Massachusetts study, eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains decreased the likelihood of erectile dysfunction appearing.
One Italian study also found that men with erectile dysfunction who had a diet and exercise program included in their treatment were far more likely to see improvements in their symptoms. After two years, 30% of men in the diet and exercise group had corrected their erectile dysfunction, compared to just 6% in the other group.
Medication is also key to successfully treating erectile dysfunction. Treatments like Viagra and Sildenafil are not only quick and easy to consume, but they’ve also been shown in clinical trials to improve blood flow to the penis, relieving symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Discover a range of safe and effective erectile dysfunction medication right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our pharmacists by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.
 NHS UK. Erectile dysfunction (impotence). 2017
 Drink Aware. Is alcohol ruining your sex life? 2016
 Arackal, B.S., Benegal, V. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007
 Skrypnik, D. Obesity — significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men. 2014
 Bupa. Male Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction. 2011.
 Healthbeat. 5 natural ways to overcome erectile dysfunction. Harvard Health Publishing. 2016
 Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Obesity: Unhealthy and unmanly. Harvard Health Publishing. 2011
 Moore, RA., Edwards, JE., McQuay, HJ. Sildenafil (Viagra) for male erectile dysfunction: a meta-analysis of clinical trial reports. BioMed Central. 2002.