Erectile dysfunction is the inability to develop or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual performance. Also known as impotence, this condition affects up to 30 million menof all ages throughout the United States.
With so many men affected, it’s no surprise an array of pharmaceutical and herbal drugs exist with the promise of an instant fix. It may be tempting to simply pop a pill and get back in the game, but most of the natural supplements are currently unproven and Viagra alone has over 100 listed side effects.
Also, erectile problems can be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition that may be overlooked if you take drugs to mask the problem. Instead, there are many small lifestyle changes you can make to naturally improve your erectile function and your health in general.
WHAT CAUSES ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by many things, such as kidney disease, medications, stress or hormonal problems. But research is revealing that the two most common causes may be heart disease and diabetes.
Both conditions can have a serious impact on your circulatory system. When you have inflamed, clogged or otherwise compromised arteries, blood can’t flow properly throughout your entire body, including your penis.
Erectile dysfunction is shown to be an early symptom of heart disease, even if you don’t have any other symptoms yet. In fact, having erection difficulties in your 40s increases your risk of a cardiac event, such as a heart attack, by a staggering 50 times.
Studies have also found a concerning link between diabetes and ED. A 2015 studydetermined that men with erectile dysfunction were twice as likely to have undiagnosed diabetes as those without the condition.
This highlights the importance of visiting your doctor if you’ve been having any erection problems. They can check if you have a more serious underlying condition that requires treatment.
Combat Heart Disease
Taking steps to protect your heart, such as lowering your blood pressure and reducing your cholesterol intake, are also shown to help reduce ED. Most of the following tips in this section will also naturally boost heart health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess body fat promotes inflammation in your body and the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, both of which can contribute to ED. Many studies have shown that weight loss can turn this around. For example, one study followed 145 men with ED as they went through a weight-loss program. The men’s erectile function improved significantly after only 6 months.
Not only does this help prevent heart disease and weight gain, regular exercise itself is shown to reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction. Research shows that men who exercise more in midlife cut their risk of erectile dysfunction by an impressive 70 percent compared to sedentary men.
So, how much exercise is enough? Harvard Medical School recommends including at least half an hour of physical activity on all or most days of the week to promote erectile health. This can be broken into three 10-minute segments if that’s easier to fit into your schedule.
Also, the activity doesn’t have to be overly strenuous. Other studies have found that a daily 2-mile walk is beneficial for erectile function. Moving at a healthy pace, it should take you about 30 to 45 minutes to walk 2 miles.
Treat Gum Disease
Gum disease may seem unrelated to ED, but the two conditions are shown to be closely linked. One study found that 53 percent of men with ED had chronic periodontitis, compared to only 23 percent of men without ED. And men who treated their periodontal disease significantly improved their erectile function after three months.
What’s behind this link is unknown, but you’ll benefit from a trip to the dentist to check on your gum health and deal with any issues.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress and anxiety are well-recognized causes of ED. It’s hard to concentrate on what’s happening in the bedroom when you’re worried about work, finances or other stressors. Include some time each day to relax and unwind. Take a walk, do some daydreaming or indulge in a good book. Joining an erectile dysfunction therapy group has also been shown to help.
If you smoke, now is the time to quit. Men who smoke are twice as likely to have erection problems as men who don’t.
Reframe the Situation
It may be worth asking yourself, is the ED really a problem in your life? If your answer is a clear “yes”, of course you should look for solutions. But if your doctor has confirmed there’s nothing physically wrong, and it’s not actually impacting your life, one option is to simply take a break from sex for a while.
If you’re in an intimate relationship, ask your partner how they feel about expressing intimacy in other ways. What would make both of you feel loved and connected without intercourse? ED may be a hidden opportunity for exploration you wouldn’t normally consider.
FOODS THAT CAN HELP ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Certain foods can help in the short-term while you’re making longer-term changes to your health.
An Italian study found that supplementation with the amino acid L-citrulline is beneficial for erectile dysfunction. L-citrulline is known to play a role in getting an erection.
Watermelon is an excellent natural source of L-citrulline. To get the same amount as they used in the study, eat 3.5 servings of regular watermelon per day, or 1 serving of yellow watermelon, which has about 4 times the amount of L-citrulline as red watermelon. One generous slice of melon is about one serving.
In one study, men’s erectile function significantly improved after only 3 weeks of consuming 100 grams per day of pistachios. As an added bonus, their cholesterol levels improved as well.
Fruit and Berries
According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, foods high in the plant compounds called flavonoids are beneficial for erectile function. Flavonoid-rich foods are all good, but the flavonoids known as anthocyanins, flavones and flavonones were shown to be especially beneficial.
Anthocyanins are present in red, blue and purple fruits, such as plums, raspberries, blueberries and black currants. Flavones and flavonones are present in white and yellow fruits, such as citrus fruits, apples and pears. And you don’t have to eat a large amount. The study found that eating only a few servings a week provided benefits.
It’s hotly debated whether a low-carbohydrate diet is actually healthy or harmful. Whatever side of the debate you fall on, you may want to avoid a low-carb diet if you’re having erectile problems. Low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to increase your risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Make sure to include healthy carbohydrates in your diet, such as steamed brown rice, quinoa or millet, or whole-grain breads and pastas.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is known to be a potent endocrine disruptor linked to early puberty, certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, allergies and various other health effects. This petrochemical is found in many food and beverage containers, so you can easily be getting exposed without realizing it.
COURTESY BY: http://www.care2.com