What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Struggling to get an erection? When it is up, is it too soft to get it in?

That’s Erectile Dysfunction!

There are several reasons you might not be able to get an erection or maintain one, but most likely one or a mixture of the following play a role:

– Medical conditions, particularly diabetes or heart conditions

– Tobacco use,  which restricts blood flow to veins and arteries, can — over time — cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction

– Being overweight, especially if you’re obese

– Certain medical treatments, such as prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer

– Injuries, particularly if they damage the nerves or arteries that control erections

– Medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure, pain or prostate conditions

– Drug and alcohol use, especially if you’re a long-term drug user or heavy drinker

Many of these can be treated or simply addressed by changing some behaviour, but surprisingly one of the most important factors here is psychological.

The brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. A number of things can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:

– Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions

– Stress

– Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns

How does lifestyle affect ED?

people at the gym

ED all comes down to blood flow. You’ll have read and heard this phrase a thousand times if you’re suffering from ED. Some basic things that you can check right now are lifestyle choices:

– Do you get enough exercise?

– How do you keep your blood pressure low?

– Do you eat a good diet?

– Is your weight the right weight for you?

– How much alcohol do you regularly drink?

– Are you a smoker?

Eating a healthy diet helps to prevent and also reverse ED. The main reason is; you are what you eat. high cholesterol, high sugar foods cause vascular issues and cause you to become overweight. Avoid them and your body will start to unclog itself.

As I said, ED is a problem of blood flow, so when you keep your blood vessels in good health, you reduce your risk of ED.

This Massachusetts Male Aging Study found a direct connection between diet and ED. The guys that ate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoided red meat and processed grains were less likely to experience ED.

Eating certain foods, and avoiding others, can and does help reduce your risk of developing ED.

Effects of alcohol on ED


Who doesn’t love a cold beer after a tough day at the office? But moderation is key here.

Alcohol is a depressant. That means it slows down some functions. One of these being how your body reacts to certain stimuli.

How much you drink determines the effect. A beer or a glass of wine alone will cause the stimulant effect: loosens you up.  But if you drink too much, then you experience alcohol’s depressant effect. You start feeling “stupid” or lose coordination and control. Ever heard of whisky dick?

If you are dependent on alcohol, seek expert help to break these bad habits.

If you’re a regular drinker, cut back or give it up to see if your sex drive improves. I’m not saying forever, but if you want your sex drive back, you will probably need to sacrifice a little here.

Effects of Drugs on ED


Both medicinal and recreational drugs can have an effect on impotence.

If you take any medication, especially those that may affect circulation or hormones, talk to your doctor. They may have an alternative that can help.

Smoking a Jay every now and again is probably not going to be a major factor. It can even help destress. But regular over use of recreational drugs can be.

The following drugs, commonly used recreationally not only suppress the central nervous system, but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, resulting in permanent ED.


– Barbiturates

– Cocaine



– Nicotine

– Opiates

Cocoa helps

melted chocolate

Nitric oxide is essential to getting and keeping an erection – it helps with blood flow. Studies have shown that antioxidant compounds called flavonoids can help improve cardiovascular health.

Flavonoids increase blood flow and the concentration of nitric oxide in the blood.

One guess where you might find a great source of flavonoids? – Chocolate! Unfortunately milk chocolate has lower levels, and to make it taste nicer it’s full of fats and sugars that aren’t going to help. So you’ll have to stick to the dark bitter chocolate for now.

Pick pistachios

A study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research looked at how eating pistachios affected ED. The scientists measured before and after guys were on a nut-heavy diet. They concluded that there were improvements in many areas including improved International Index of Erectile Function scores for study participants.

Pistachios also improved cholesterol levels and blood pressure with no notable side effects. It seems like it’S not only  tasty snack, but also great for your ED.

Watermelon’s anti ED effect

Research from Texas A&M University found a connection between watermelon and ED. A compound found in the fruit called citrulline helps to relax blood vessels. It has a similar effect to that of ED medical treatments.

How can herbal supplements help ED?

supplement bottle

Herbal supplements have long been used by those worried about the side effects of medical treatments. But there are some herbs that have shown promise in treating ED. The following supplements may help treat ED:

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): a hormone that has been shown to improve libido in women and to help with ED in men.
  • L-arginine: an amino acid that may help widen blood vessels to improve blood flow. 
  • Ginseng: has been shown to help improve ED.

The manufacturer of Male Extra claim that its ingredients (including some of the above) help to fix erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow to the penis


Aldemir, M., Okulu, E., Neselioglu, S., Erel, O., Kayigil, O. (2011, January-February). Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction. International Journal of Impotence Research, 23(1), 32-38

Arackal, B. S., & Benegal, V. (2007, April-June). Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 49(2), 109-112

Corti, R., Flammer, A. J., Hollenberk, N. K., Luscher, T. F. (2009). Cocoa and cardiovascular health. Circulation, 119, 1433-1441

Feldman, H. A., Goldstein, I., Hatzichristou, D. G., Krane, R. J., McKinlay, J. B. (1994, January). Impotence and its medical and psychosocial correlates: Results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. Journal of Urology, 151(1), 54-61. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016, January 17). Erectile dysfunction

Watermelon may have viagra-like effect. (2008, June 30)

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