The 5 Best Foods for Your Erection and the 5 Worst
Last Updated: Apr 17, 2017
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You and your sweetie are enjoying a romantic evening you hope will end in orgasmic bliss. But what if your penis has other plans? Many factors influence whether you can achieve or maintain hardness before and during sex, including the foods you do or don’t eat. Learning which dishes to pass by and which to serve up may help you avoid the “oh no, not again” lack-of-erection blues.
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If sex is on the menu, pizza probably shouldn’t be. Pizza and cheese are leading contributors of saturated fat in American diets, which can hurt more than erectile function. “Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease, caused by the same plaque buildup in the blood vessels that impedes blood flow and can ultimately lead to heart attacks and strokes further down the road,” says Tamara Duker Freuman, a registered dietitian in New York City. A Western-style diet, rich in saturated fat, can contribute to heart and penis problems by adding to that blockage. If you’re going to grab a slice, opt for whole-grain crust, less cheese and more veggies.
WORST: WHITE BREAD
White bread and other refined carbs lack a range of valuable nutrients. As a result, loading your plate with processed starches could lead to a limp noodle in your pants. White bread and other refined grain sources can cause blood sugar dips that interfere with sexual fervor. They can also contribute to weight gain, clogged arteries and lower testosterone levels, all of which can make having and maintaining erections less likely. When you crave a sandwich, skip the white slices and choose a 100 percent whole-grain alternative instead.
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For stronger erections, swap out sodas for water. Research published in the Central European Journal of Urology in September 2011 showed that unhealthy diet habits, such as sipping soft drinks, can gradually lead to erectile dysfunction. Sugary vittles and drinks are among the worst choices for erections, says Chris Shuff, a registered dietitian in Jacksonville, Florida. “It’s best to maintain stable blood sugar when you want to perform in the bedroom,” he says. Sugary fare can interfere with this. While modest amounts of added sugar fits within a healthy diet, the American Heart Association recommends a max of 150 calories’ worth per day. A 12-ounce can of cola provides 140.
WORST: BUTTER POPCORN
It's a Netflix and chill kind of night, but think twice before you whip out the butter popcorn. Yes, popcorn is a hearty whole grain. But add buttery powder or other artificial flavors, and you could surpass the daily limit for trans fats — less than 1 percent of your daily calories — in one fell swoop. Oh, and you could also tank your erection in the process. Also called hydrogenated vegetable oil, trans fats are an especially detrimental form of fat that fuels inflammation and interferes with cardiovascular health. This makes them risky for genital blood flow too. Before buying microwave popcorn, check the label and avoid trans-fatty varieties. You can also pop your own in an air popper or on the stovetop and season it with a dash of sea salt and spices.
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WORST: FAST-FOOD FRIES
You know how french fries only stay crisp and fresh for a brief while? Eating fast-food fries routinely may have a similar effect on your erections. Preparation of the quick-grab fries strips potatoes of many nutrients, making them less helpful for blood sugar control and energy levels. They also tend to be high in inflammatory trans fats. Unlike penises, fry size really does matter. If you go from a kid-size serving to a large, you could get close to quintuple the amount of unhealthy fat and calories.
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BEST: GRILLED SALMON
If food is the way to your heart, salmon may pave the way to your hard-on. The oily fish provides rich amounts of omega-3 fats, which are great for cardiovascular health and circulation. This makes it a top pick for strong erections — especially if you choose salmon burgers over fatty beef. Numerous studies show that men who rely on fish and other healthy fats for protein are less prone to erectile dysfunction. The American Heart Association suggests eating 3.5 ounces of fish, namely fatty varieties, at least twice per week.
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BEST: BROWN RICE
Upping your whole-grain intake can help you get it up with greater ease. An analysis of data on diet and erectile dysfunction published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in May 2010 linked a Mediterranean-style diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables with a lower likelihood of ED. As the only starch that doesn’t stimulate gas production during digestion, rice may be a particularly useful precoital pick — especially if you’re prone to gassiness. For a hard-on-healthy meal, serve brown rice with steamed veggies and grilled salmon.
BEST: LEAFY GREENS
Working more vegetables into your diet isn’t just smart for overall nutritional wellness, it could also lead to more erections. And leafy green vegetables may be especially helpful. As valuable suppliers of natural compounds known as nitrates -- which vary from nitrates added as preservatives to meats -- greens like spinach can help increase blood flow to your genitals during arousal and sex. Swap out greasy appetizers that may harm sexual function (e.g., nachos and fried chicken wings) for a leafy green salad drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. Other nutritious greens include kale, romaine, mustard greens and Swiss chard.
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BEST: BEET JUICE
It may not be the first thing to leap to mind when you’re thirsty, but beet juice contains concentrated amounts of nitrates, which can help you achieve an erection. But if you take certain medications for angina or erectile dysfunction, New York City dietitian Tamara Duker Freuman suggests talking to your doctor first because the juice could amplify the medications’ blood pressure-lowering effects. “For men who do not take medications for angina or ED, beet juice can be helpful, especially if taken a few hours before sexual activity,” she added. Beet juice can also help lower high blood pressure and boost athletic performance. So if you like to get extra frisky in bed, there’s that!
If you’re not a fan of fish, you can still get some of the same pecker perks from walnuts. As valuable plant suppliers of omega-3s, they can help enhance blood flow and stave off inflammation. Don't have walnuts on hand? Flaxseeds are also an excellent source of plant-based omega-3s. To get the full heart-healthy benefits from flaxseed, make sure you purchase ground seeds. Or grind whole seeds in a coffee grinder and consume within 24 hours. Add ground flaxseed or walnuts to fruit smoothies for even more sexual benefits. People who eat more fruits and veggies tend to have stronger sexual function.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
How has diet affected your sex life? What are your favorite foods for improved erections? Have you noticed sexual benefits from shifting to a healthier lifestyle? Let us know in the comments!
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