Five nutrients fighting erectile dysfunction

Five nutrients fighting erectile dysfunction  

If you’re a guy with sexual performance issues of erectile dysfunction (ED), likely you’re open to any ideas on how to treat it.  For men who prefer treating this condition naturally instead of taking a pill, a possible method is utilizing nutrients within food. While there is no special food or diet preventing erectile dysfunction, some evidence indicates certain nutrients within food might be helpful in fighting this condition, which most men will experience at some point in their lives. 


Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is the inability to get and then maintain an erection sufficient enough for sexual intercourse.  Up to 30 million American men get ED which is primarily due to not having a good blood supply to the penis.  This is why nutrients may help as certain foods good for the vascular system contain certain nutrients that are good for boosting blood circulation.

Here’s a look at key nutrients found in food men can try to reduce ED:

1.     Nitrates in leafy greens and beets

Think green as in leafy green vegetables such as Swiss chard, collard greens and spinach.  These foods have a high concentration of nitrates which may increase blood circulation.  Also think red as in beets and beet juice as they too are high in nitrates. 

What is so special about nitrates?  Nitrates are vasodilators meaning they open up blood vessels and increase blood flow.  Even before the first ED drug was approved for use in 1998, there were several case reports on the beneficial effects of nitrates for ED.  In fact, the ED medications commonly used today are based on the relaxing effects of nitrates on the blood vessels supplying the penis.

2.     Flavonoids in dark chocolate

Studies have found that flavonoids in dark chocolate (containing at least 70% cacao content) improve circulation, always good news for men with poor blood flow.  Flavonoids are naturally-occurring antioxidants protecting plants from toxins and help repair cell damage.  Fortunately, these same effects apply to humans also.  They may help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol, both known to be contributors to the problem of ED.

3.     Zinc in oysters and other shellfish

Well known for its aphrodisiac reputation, oysters may also play an important role in preventing ED.  Zinc is the magic ingredient found in oysters and other shellfish contributing to its reduction.  The reason may involve the role zinc has in the production of the male hormone testosterone and when a man has low levels of testosterone, he often experiences ED.  Another connection is the fact that raw shellfish contains compounds that stimulate the release of sexual hormones in both men and women. 

4.     Antioxidants in watermelon

Men, be sure to fill up your plate with watermelon.  Even though watermelon is 92 percent water, it’s that other 8 percent that can do wonders for your heart and sexual enjoyment.  Some studies show that this large melon may have effects on ED that are similar to the drug Viagra.  In addition, it may also increase the desire for sex.  Referred to as ‘Nature’s Viagra,’ watermelons contain an ingredient known as phytonutrients, also considered antioxidants.  These phytonutrients fight to keep blood vessels relaxed that supply the penis to achieve an erection. 

5.     Lycopene in tomatoes and pink grapefruit

Those deep red and pink colors found in tomatoes and grapefruit mean one thing – lycopene.  Lycopene is a phytonutrient good for circulation and good for sexual issues.  To enhance the absorption of lycopene, it is suggested to combine this nutrient with oily foods such as avocados and olive oil.  Lycopene may not only help reduce ED but it may also help fight male infertility and prostate cancer according to studies.