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Last updated July 16, 2018, originally published September 18, 2011
By  L. Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist and A. Turner, Contributing Columnist

Does your diet affect how you perform in the bedroom? Take a closer
look at the food you eat – you could be risking your erection with the
meals you cook and the snacks you enjoy. According to the National
Institutes of Health, around 5% of 40-year-old men and between 15%
and 25% of 65-year-old men suffer from erectile dysfunction on a
regular basis. Many of these men could benefit from a different
approach to grocery shopping.

Erectile dysfunction (ED), also called impotence, is the inability to
achieve and keep an erection that’s firm enough for sex. Having a little
trouble getting an erection from time to time isn’t usually a cause for
concern. But if your problems keep coming back you set yourself up for
stress, relationship problems and plummeting self-confidence. Which
foods can cause erectile dysfunction? Are any foods best avoided to
help prevent ED?

How Can Food Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Achieving an erection may seem unbelievably simple when everything is
working as it should, but the actual process is highly complex. Erectile
problems can occur for a variety of reasons; some physical, some

Physical causes of ED relate to the messages the nerves carry and
receive from penis, spine and brain and to the response from the
muscles, veins and arteries. Health conditions can affect the way the
sequence works, and diet can contribute to the development of these

For example,
diabetes causes nerve and artery damage that can make
erections impossible.  Conditions that affect blood flow such as
atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries),
high blood pressure and
high cholesterol account for a large majority of physical causes of ED.
These conditions affect the blood flow to the heart, to the brain and
also – crucially – to the penis. Obesity makes it more likely you’ll suffer
from ED. And low testosterone levels, which are partly affected by your
diet, can also cause erectile dysfunction.

The type of erectile dysfunction caused by diabetes is harder
to reverse because of nerve damage
. A particular sugar has been
implicated in starting the damage.]

The way you eat affects your health and your erectile performance.
Basically, the foods and lifestyle choices that are bad for your heart and
your major organs are also bad for your erection. Spending too much
time on the couch, letting your gym membership lapse and ordering
take-out every night aren’t doing your heart or your sex life any good.
Add in levels of stress and psychological problems you’re not taking
care of and you’ve got a recipe for an unhealthy heart and an
unsatisfactory time in the bedroom. In addition, there are certain foods
that seem to work independently to create erectile problems.

What foods should you think twice about putting in your shopping
cart? We looked at the available evidence to tell you which foods to
avoid when you’re concerned about sexual arousal and your erectile

List of Foods That Cause ED

1. Soy Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Soy may be celebrated for its benefits to your cardiovascular health but
it receives negative feedback when it comes to male sexual function.
Soy milk and yogurt, soy beans and soy nuts, tofu and soy mince
should all be left on the shelf if you’re concerned about erectile

Soy and soy isoflavones boost your levels of estrogen and may lower
your testosterone levels. A 2011 study from Beth Israel Medical
Deaconess Center, Harvard Medical School documented one 19-year-
old man who consumed a vegan diet rich in soy-based products who
suffered a sudden loss of libido as well as erectile dysfunction and low
testosterone levels.

A 2003 study from the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK showed
soy lowered testosterone levels in men consuming soy flour and a 2000
study from Monash University, Clayton, Australia discovered that
women taking soy isoflavones supplements for three months reported
improved menopausal symptoms, suggestive of an increase in estrogen
levels. All of which points to soy as a downer in terms of male sexual

Licorice Can Cause Low Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction

Cut out the licorice candy – this flavorsome ingredient can be a passion-
killer for men. A 1999 study from the University of Padua, Italy
demonstrated that licorice was a testosterone-inhibitor, a concept
reinforced by further study from the university in 2003 that showed
licorice reduced serum testosterone values by 26 percent after one
week. Low testosterone levels can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Can Spearmint Tea Cause ED?

Be careful which drink you choose – seemingly healthy alternatives to
coffee and tea may cause ED. A 2010 study from Eastbourne District
General Hospital, East Sussex, UK found just two cups of spearmint tea
a day resulted in lowered testosterone levels.

Researchers in Turkey also tested the herbal tea after reports of loss of
libido and erectile dysfunction in connection with spearmint plants. The
2007 study from Suleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey found
two cups of spearmint tea reduced levels of androgen in men by a
significant amount.

Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction

You may have already experienced performance issues after a night out
at a bar or party. Heavy drinking can certainly cause erectile
dysfunction as well as other issues surrounding arousal and a satisfying
sex life.

Alcohol abuse and heavy drinking can also cause Vitamin A deficiency,
which in turn may cause sterility and male erectile problems.

But the jury is out on whether moderate or low levels of alcohol can
also cause ED. A 2010 study from The University of Hong Kong, Hong
Kong, China looked at 816 men and found those who drank more than
three standard alcoholic drinks a week were more likely to report
erectile dysfunction and difficulty.

However, results from a 2007 meta-analysis from The University of
Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China were more ambivalent – researchers
discovered a regular consumption of alcohol was associated with a
reduced risk of ED but that some studies showed no relation between
alcohol and ED.

A 2009 study from Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, Nedlands,
Australia found the risk of ED in men who never drank was higher than
current drinkers and those that drank heavily at the weekends (binge
drinkers). The risk of ED was actually lowest among men who drank
within the Australian guidelines for safe drinking of between one and
20 drinks a week. (Read more about the
connection between beer and

The risk of ED in smokers who drink is much higher across the studies.
Smoking is considered a
high risk factor for ED – if you smoke, stop for
the sake of your sex life.

Red Meat and an Unhealthy Diet Cause ED

Just as the Mediterranean diet – a diet rich in fish and low in red and
processed meat – has been proven to benefit the heart, its powers also
extend to the penis. A 2010 study from the Second University of Naples-
Division of Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases, Italy found that type 2
diabetic men who followed a Mediterranean diet low in red meat and
favoring fish had the lowest levels of ED.

Processed Meats Are Dangerous For Developing ED

Diabetes frequently leads to erectile dysfunction - according to the
National Institutes of Health, between 20 and 75 percent of men with
diabetes suffer ED. That's a remarkable correlation.

Preventing diabetes is helpful not only to sexual function but a whole
host of other serious health issues too. It seems that frequent
consumption of processed meat increases the risk of developing

According to the 2003 Women's Health Study, processed meat was
associated with developing diabetes, and those women that ate bacon
at least twice a week had a 17 percent higher risk of developing type 2
diabetes than those who ate bacon less than once a week.

Processed frankfurters also fared badly – those eating hot dogs at least
twice a week increased their risk by 24 percent. Overweight men in
middle age should be particularly careful of their processed meat
consumption in order not to dramatically increase their risk of diabetes
and erectile dysfunction. (
What is the ideal diet to prevent diabetes?-
read more).

More Protein than Carbs Helps Cause ED

Another nail in the coffin of red and processed meats is a 1997 study
from Penn State University that links low testosterone levels with a high
consumption of protein in relation to carbohydrates in the diet. Another
study – a 1987 report from Anderson et al published in the journal Life
Sciences – also showed men on a high-carbohydrate diet had
significantly higher levels of testosterone than those enjoying a high-
protein diet. (
How much is too much protein, even for bodybuilding?-
read more).

Simple Carbs Cause ED?

Stick to complex carbohydrates, however, if you are looking to limit
your risk of ED. According to a 2010 study from the Reproductive
Partners Medical Group, Redondo Beach, California a decrease in the
amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates that are rapidly converted
to sugar in the diet reduce the negative effects of fatty acids on
vascular nitric oxide production. When vascular nitric oxide production
is improved, erectile dysfunction is less of an issue. Simple carbs are
not present in large amounts in the Mediterranean diet which is another
reason why this healthy approach to eating is better for men concerned
with sexual function.

Fatty Foods Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Obesity is a direct risk factor for erectile dysfunction and you’ll get
there much faster with a diet of high-fat foods.

According to a 2011 study from the Medical College of Georgia obesity
induced by a high-fat diet is one of the most important risk factors for
the development of erectile dysfunction.
[Update: One of the reasons
that a
high fat diet causes ED is that it raises levels of O-GLcNAc, a
sugar molecule that interferes with creation of erections.

Ditch the high-fat foods directly unless you want to continue suffering
from ED and the consequences of impaired sexual arousal.  


Foods high in saturated fat raise your risk for erectile dysfunction and
your risk for premature death.  
Men with ED have a 79% higher risk for
premature death.]


Be careful what you consume to fight pain and inflammation. A recent
study reports that men who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDS) three times a day for over three months are 2.4 times more
likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. The 2011 study from Kaiser
Permanente Southern California looked at a population of 80,966 men
aged 45 to 69 years in California.

11. Fried Fish Causes and Especially High Risk for ED

Continue reading  page 1        
page 2

Now, you know exactly 1/2 of what every man needs to know to
prevent ED. Here are the rest of the tips
:  /Exercises That Strengthen
Erections/ Low Testosterone? - Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid/
5 Common Beliefs About Penis Size -Are They True or False?/
Zinc Increases Testosterone/StopBurning When You Urinate
/ Male Menopause-Symptoms and Top 10 Remedies / Fordyce Spots-
Causes and Cures / Dry Penis? -Causes and Cures / Does Beer Affect
Erections? -New Report
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Licorice, an ingredient in licorice
candy, has been linked to
increased risk ED.