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Foods for erectile dysfunction

Written by Mojo, reviewed by
Aron Snowsill, Nutritional Therapist (mBANT, CNHC), BSc Psychology

Two young guys ordering food and drink at a bar

What foods do you associate with sex? 

Pop culture has long been flooded with foodie clichés which hint at the link between what goes on our plates and what happens between the sheets. 

But is the secret to great sex (or more specifically, strong erections) truly hidden within an oyster shell? 

And when things aren’t going so well downstairs, what foods can really help restart the engine, or make it cut out entirely?

To find out, we spoke to expert nutritionist and all-round great guy, Aron Snowsill

Aron knows all about the real link between what we eat and our overall health (and, consequently, the impact food can have on erectile dysfunction). 

Does food affect our erections?

Food is fuel. It powers every bit of us.

This means that the process of getting hard (and eventually reaching orgasm) stems from your overall physical and mental health – and those two things are ultimately impacted by what you put in your body.

We know that changing your diet completely can be difficult. We’ve tried it ourselves. But Aron has good news for all of us:

“You don’t have to overhaul everything on your grocery list to reap the real benefits in the bedroom.

I’ve picked out some key foods that can be added to any diet to make your erections a bit more dependable, and to help you improve erectile dysfunction (or even help prevent it from happening in the first place).”

Aron Snowsill, Nutritional Therapist (mBANT, CNHC), BSc Psychology 

He’s given us a basketful of fresh ideas that his clients have used to munch their way to greater sexual wellbeing.  

We can’t wait to share it with you. So, knife and fork at the ready? 

It’s time to dig in.

What are the best foods for erectile dysfunction?

Nuts and seeds

Reach for the: Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds

Why: 

Adding nuts and seeds to your diet can help to:

  • boost libido. Go with Brazil nuts thanks to the testosterone boosting property, selenium. Testosterone impacts sex drive, which in turn can lead to stronger erections. Two or three of these nuts a day will do here – any more and you could actually exceed your recommended daily dose of selenium. Or you could go with pumpkin seeds which contain zinc (also important for testosterone production).
  • lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, which can help your heart and vascular health. If you grab some almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, the circulatory benefits could run all the way into your penis. Good heart health and blood flow is needed for good erections, after all. 
  • calm your mind. Here, you can pick a mix of your favorite nuts and seeds. The magnesium and B vitamins will help support your nervous system – a great complement to therapy for anxiety (which can be a psychological cause of ED).  

Up your intake (the easy way):

Have a go at making your own homemade trail mix. Jumble together Brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, dried banana, and dark chocolate. Two handfuls is enough for a great erection-boosting snack, and will also stop any of those pesky sugar cravings.

Dark leafy greens

Reach for the: spinach, kale, broccoli

Why:

Greens are nutritional powerhouses containing a wealth of goodness for your erections. These include:

  • B vitamins: getting the full spectrum of B1-12 vitamins strengthens your overall health and can therefore strengthen your erections. Deficiencies in B3 and B9 (folic acid) have also been linked to ED because of the impact they have on our vascular health and nitric oxide (NO) production. NO is essential for erectile function because it relaxes blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely into the penis.
  • Magnesium: this calms the nervous system and can help manage ED-inducing stress and anxiety.
  • Antioxidants: also increase your body’s nitric oxide (NO) production.  

Up your intake (the easy way):

Keep a bag of spinach in your fridge at all times. You can throw a handful of spinach leaves into almost every meal – including sandwiches, pasta, and even on top of a pizza.

Fish

Reach for the: SMASH (Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring)

Why: 

The words ‘fatty fish oil’ might not get you salivating immediately, but don’t dismiss these unsung heroes of the bedroom. 

Fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which have been known to lower triglyceride levels (a type of fat found in your body). Lower triglyceride levels can lead to decreased chances of atherosclerosis (a fancy name for a condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances). Stopping potential blockages can lead the way for smooth blood flow throughout your body and into your penis – helping you pull into harbor with a hard on.

Up your intake (the easy way):

If you can, aim for two to three portions of fish a week. An easy way to add it into your diet is by whipping up a fish sandwich, or adding a portion to some couscous and veg.

If you’re vegan or veggie, walnuts are a great substitute. These can easily be whizzed into a morning protein shake or smoothie. Your erections will thank you later. 

Fruit and vegetables

Reach for the: colors of the rainbow – from eggplants and carrots to watermelon and tomatoes

Why? 

Fruit and veg are some of the best foods for ED. They contain flavonoids, a diverse group of plant chemicals (or phytonutrients). Not only are these responsible for bringing vibrant natural colors to fresh food, but a higher intake of them also reduces the risk of experiencing the circulatory problems we know can cause erectile dysfunction. 

Up your intake (the easy way):

Hey Picasso! Treat your plate like a paint palette and load it up with all the colors you can. Aron recommends the ‘get it in’ approach. Blend up a (small!) smoothie of fruit and/or veg and get it down in one. Avoid anything too big or ambitious though because it’s likely you won’t finish it (or make it again). 

Liquids

Reach for the: water (duh), herbal teas, and water found in foods like cucumber, carrot and watermelon 

Why: 

When dehydration sets in, your body struggles to perform essential tasks, and this can affect how you perform in the bedroom.   

When your body needs watering, there’s less volume of blood (same number of blood cells, just more concentrated). Less volume means it’s harder to pump that needed blood into your erection – which can in turn cause erectile dysfunction. 

Plus, when fluid levels decrease, you can start creating a hormone called angiotensin which causes the blood vessels to constrict. This can raise your blood pressure and stop blood flowing freely through the body (and into the penis).

Up your intake (the easy way):

Aim to drink a minimum of 2L every day by keeping a reusable water bottle with you at all times. Some of these bottles come with time markings, so you can keep on top of your sipping progress through the day. 

Aron told us:

“It’s all about those small decisions you make. That includes the choice to go with an antioxidant-rich green tea, instead of a fifth cup of sugary coffee.”

Aron Snowsill, Nutritional Therapist (mBANT, CNHC), BSc Psychology

Foods to avoid for erectile dysfunction (and drinks, too)

Just as food can help your body (and your erections) function better, there’s also food out there that can make it harder to get it up.  

Aron isn’t an advocate for restrictive diets (we wouldn’t be human if we ignored all of our naughty cravings). But when it comes to reducing the risk of ED, he told us that moderating the following types of foods can help:

Foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol

These include:

  • red meat
  • dairy products like butter, cheese, and cows milk 
  • high-fat processed foods like pies, sausages, and chips (also known as crisps for our British friends!) 
  • alcohol (if you drink heavily)

Why? 

Veins and arteries transport blood around the body’s many networks. When cholesterol builds up in our veins and arteries, it can form a barrier that prevents blood from reaching the penis – which can trigger erectile dysfunction. 

Too much of these types of foods can also contribute to extra body fat. Excess fat stores can turn testosterone (the male hormone) into estrogen (the female hormone). This means that the body’s sexual messengers can literally become emasculated out of doing their job.

Foods that are high in sugar

These include:

  • sugary soft drinks
  • sweets
  • chocolate
  • baked foods, like the beloved donut 
  • alcohol (this culprit again)

Why?

Sugar can mess with your hormones, which could lead to erectile dysfunction. This is because hormones act as the body’s sexual messengers – making sure all systems are interlinked and ready to go.   

Too much sugar can also damage your nerve endings. Nerves are our stimulation receptors that are vital for feeling pleasure – if these are damaged, stimulation during sex may become trickier.

Sugary foods also give you a quick spike of energy – this release is often followed by a dip, which saps the sustainable energy you need for great erections (and great sex). 

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of what you love, just try not to have all these sugary foods all of the time. 

Drinks that contain stimulants

These include:

  • caffeine, such as coffee and tea 
  • energy drinks
  • alcohol (there’s a theme occurring here) 

Why?

Stimulants can lead to you over-producing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

Stress hormones send the body into a state of ‘fight or flight’. This reaction is a bit of a hangover from our caveman days, when we’d frequently find ourselves caught in spontaneous fights or running for our lives. 

Today, the lions might have left town, but our brains will still gear the body up for battle by directing blood to the muscles (and away from the penis) when under stress. 

In simple terms, this means that stimulants make you feel more stressed and anxious, which can be one cause of erectile dysfunction. 

Alcohol can also have a numbing effect on the penis, so even if your inhibitions have lowered and you’re feeling hornier than usual, too many beers can make it hard to physically get hard. 

Different diets for different ED needs

When it comes to general wellbeing and looking after your body and your penis, the foods and drinks we’ve mentioned above are the best to steer towards (or steer away from) to help with erectile dysfunction.  

However, the most effective way to improve your ED is by tailoring your diet to complement treatment for the specific cause of your erection issues. 

Nutritionists like Aron are the best people to talk to if you’d like to know more about your specific needs, or how food can help you manage some of the most common causes of ED, such as: 

  • blood flow or cardiovascular concerns
  • psychological issues, including stress or performance anxiety 
  • being overweight
  • diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • testosterone or other hormone imbalances
  • vitamin D deficiency

Before you go: one final reason to treat your nuts to some nuts

Not only is this a shining piece of advice from Aron, it’s also our quote of the week:

“If you include three Brazil nuts a day into your diet, by day five, you’ll be like a dog on heat.

It honestly works.

I have guys coming back to me saying their partners are asking when they’ll be going on the Brazils again.”

Aron Snowsill, Nutritional Therapist (mBANT, CNHC), BSc Psychology

If you want more erection-boosting pearls of wisdom, why not sign up to Mojo? All our content is backed by friendly experts who are ready to share their knowledge to improve you sex life. 

The first 7 days are free, and can be enjoyed with a couple of Brazil nuts on the side. 


Mojo aims to provide useful wellbeing resources to its users; however, you should not solely rely on opinions or advice available on the Website or given by the Community. Always seek advice from a qualified medical doctor or other healthcare professional before acting.