The 5 Foods That Kill Your Erection Ask any guy about his performance level in the bedroom and you’ll likely hear a similar answer. Whether closer to fact or fiction, each and every single one would tell you he is an absolute stud between the sheets. And the reason why is certainly no mystery — what man would openly profess his lack of sexual prowess?
What a guy is infinitely less likely to admit is that he occasionally deals with bouts of a condition that may or may not affect large segments of the global male population. That condition, erectile dysfunction, has historically proven difficult for experts to put an exact number on (a recent meta-study found prevalence rates ranging anywhere from 3 to 76.5 percent worldwide), but researchers at the University of Wisconsin say mild and moderate cases of ED affect “approximately 10 percent of men per decade of life,” which is to say 20 percent of men in their 20s, 30 percent of men in their 30s, and so on.
RELATED: Suffering from Penile Problems? Know You’re Not Alone
Whatever the numbers, whatever the prevalence, ED — that is, the inability to either produce or maintain an erection firm enough to do the dirty deed — is something guys simply don’t like talking about. Here’s the thing, though: your erection, or lack thereof, actually has a lot to say about your overall health.
While a man’s age typically has something to say about it, the Urology Care Foundation says other causes of ED include high blood sugar, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and obesity. So, if your member is not feeling up to the task, that could very well be a sign of a much bigger problem.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction, it could be time to reexamine your diet, which oftentimes is one of the main culprits.
“There’s a significant correlation between our (body mass index) and erections,” says Dr. James Ulchaker, a urologist with the Cleveland Clinic. “High-fat diets can lead to blockages in the coronary arteries, and decrease the size of the iliac and other arteries supplying blood flow to your penis.”
For that reason, Ulchaker says a heart-healthy diet is also a penile-healthy diet. And if penile health is what you’re after, these are some of the foods you should avoid eating.
5 Types of Food That Can Be Detrimental to Your Boner Fried Foods From shrimp to Oreos, you can fry just about anything these days. And while that may sound like a good thing for your taste buds, it doesn’t pan out quite the same when it comes to your Johnson.
Fried food in small doses isn’t the end of the world, but regularly consuming those calories and trans fats will increase the amount of plaque in your circulatory system, which could spell disaster not only for your sexual functioning, but also for your heart.
The long and short of it? Fried foods lead to weight gain, which can result in both hormonal imbalance and an inability to get your little soldier standing tall (not to mention a litany of other health problems associated with obesity). The next time you’re reaching for a doughnut or craving some French fries, maybe go for a piece of fruit instead?
Soy As many a food expert could tell you, there are numerous benefits to eating soy. According to Amy Gorin, a New York City-based dietitian nutritionist, soy products such as tempeh and tofu contain all nine essential amino acids that our bodies are incapable of producing. On top of this, soy has no cholesterol, is low in saturated fats and is a good source of other nutrients, like Vitamin C.
What’s the catch? Well, one of soy’s active ingredients — these little buggers called isoflavones — comes packaged with estrogen-like properties, meaning that consuming them can also affect your hormonal balance.
A case study conducted some years back by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (yes, that’s a real place) concluded that eating soy is indeed associated with erectile dysfunction. The 19-year-old man involved in that study experienced a “sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction after the ingestion of large quantities of soy-based products in a vegan-style diet.”
But again, all things in moderation, right? As long as you don’t overdo it on edamame or miso soup, you ought to be fine.
Refined Grains Ever hear that phrase, “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead?” It’s a cute way for manufacturers of whole wheat products to sell their stuff, sure, but there’s also quite a bit of truth behind those words.
Many grain-based items found on grocery store shelves, white bread included, are made with what are called refined grains, which are essentially pared down whole grains that have been “relieved” of most of their nutritional value. Accordingly, refined grains and products made from them can actually be harmful to your health, as they are excessively starchy, high in gluten, devoid of natural fiber and generally contain lots of chemicals.
Why does all of this matter when it comes to your sexual health? Let’s look at the numbers: the average person eats about 100 pounds of commercial bread each year, which is equivalent to your body taking in two pounds of salt, three pounds of sugar and an unhealthy amount of food additives.
Higher levels of sodium can result in higher blood pressure, which is definitely not good for your main man below the belt, while an oversupply of sugar has also been linked to ED. Bottom line: you’re better off sticking to those non-refined, unaltered whole grains.
Canned Foods It shouldn’t come as a surprise that fresh food is healthier for you (and, by extension, your member) than canned food, but the exact reason why may not be so clear. If you’re wondering, it’s because inside nearly every can is a lining that contains a chemical called Bisphenol-A, or BPA.
Whether BPA causes sexual dysfunction in men or not has long been up for debate, but a study widely reported on in 2009 found that men exposed to high levels of the chemical were four times as likely to report suffering from erectile dysfunction, and seven times as likely to report issues with ejaculation.
Even if BPA hasn’t been definitively proven to cause ED or other sexual health problems (and it hasn’t), why take that risk? Other than canned foods, the chemical can also be found in many reusable plastic water bottles, as well as other plastic containers. To be safe, look for products labeled “BPA-Free.”
Red Meat It may pain you to read these words, but your precious red meat has betrayed you. It’s true: that juicy, two-inch-thick, medium rare steak on your plate is the arch nemesis of your boner. Why, you ask? Well, let’s just say that animal fat and cholesterol are not exactly heart-healthy, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember that whatever is bad for your heart is also bad for your pecker.
“High-fat diets and higher cholesterol levels are correlated with ED, which is largely caused by clogs in the small blood vessels,” says Dr. Edmund Sabanegh, president of the Main Campus Hospital of the Cleveland Clinic. “Meats in general are high in fat … (and) processed meats are higher in nitrates, which we believe can also affect the sperm.”
We’re not saying you need to boycott red meat entirely, of course, just that cutting back slightly is never a bad call — especially if you’re concerned about ED. Healthier alternatives include lean meats like turkey and chicken, and plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, quinoa and split peas.
You Might Also Dig:
Can Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction? The Science Behind How Erections Work, Explained How to Have Better Sex (Tonight)