Men with a poor diet are more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction

Men with a poor diet rich in ‘bad fats’ from butter, red meat and pastries are MORE likely to suffer erectile dysfunction than those who eat plenty of fruit, veg, nuts and fish

  • US researchers linked diets full of red and processed meat with erectile issues
  • A healthy diet full of fruit and veg could help maintain erectile function in men
  •  Erectile dysfunction known to be a possible early sign of cardiovascular disease

Men with a poor diet rich in ‘bad fats’ are more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction than people who eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish, a new study says. 

US researchers found a link between erectile dysfunction and consumption of bad fats found in red and processed meats and butter in middle-aged to elderly men.   

The study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, meaning it’s possible erectile dysfunction could cause consumption of foods full of bad fats, almost as a source of comfort for being unable to perform in the bedroom.

Both erectile dysfunction and a poor diet are already known to be potential early signs of cardiovascular disease and heart problems. 

Researchers advocate the Mediterranean diet – which is rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes nuts and olive oil.  

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Erectile dysfunction, which could be solved with a greater presence of good fats in the diet, could be an early sign of cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels and can include events such as strokes and coronary heart disease.

Researchers say acknowledging erectile dysfunction is also a symptom of poor eating could encourage men to adopt healthier diets. 

‘Erectile dysfunction, especially in younger men, is an early sign of cardiovascular disease and may decrease quality of life,’ the team say in their paper, published in published JAMA Network Open.

‘Men may be motivated to adopt a healthy dietary pattern if it lowers their risk of erectile dysfunction.’

The experts, from University of California San Francisco, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham And Women’s Hospital in Boston, used data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up study, a Harvard-backed study that kicked off in 1986.

Researchers took a sample that included information about the diet and health of 21,469 male health professionals, aged between 40 and 75. 

They were given a score reflecting the extent to which they adhered to the Mediterranean diet, with a higher score indicating high adherence. 

Eating fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish – know as the Mediterranean diet – may solve problems ‘getting in up’ in the bedroom, researchers suggest

Men younger than 60 years and in the highest category of the Mediterranean diet score had the lowest relative risk of incident erectile dysfunction compared with men in the lowest category. 

Higher Mediterranean diet scores were also negatively associated with incident erectile dysfunction among older men. 

The study suggests healthy diet, free from burgers, pastries and other butter-rich products, could both help cut cardiovascular disease and maintain erectile function.  

Last year, research revealed that men who suffer from erectile dysfunction are at a 59 per cent greater risk of heart disease, stroke or a premature death. 

Impotence also raised the men’s risk of a stroke by 34 per cent and premature death by 33 per cent, the study by Chinese scientists found.

Failure to become erect may be the first sign of poor blood flow in the body, the scientists warned.  

Erectile dysfunction affects more than 100 million men globally to some extent, which is set to rise to 300 million by 2025. 

In June this year, UK Digital health service Superdrug Online Doctor reported a 13 per cent increase in demand for erectile dysfunction services.

Researchers blamed increased stress and alcohol consumption due to the coronavirus lockdown. 

Erectile dysfunction can be triggered by transient factors such as tiredness, stress, anxiety or alcohol use.

However, the condition can also be a sign of underlying medical conditions including high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or even hormonal issues.  


Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is when a man is unable to get or maintain an erection.

It is more common in the over-40s but affects men of all ages.

Failure to stay erect is usually due to tiredness, stress, anxiety or alcohol, and is not a cause for concern.

However, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, side effects of medication, or hormonal issues.

Lifestyle factors than can affect the condition include obesity, smoking, cycling too much, drinking too much, and stress. 

Source: NHS Choices

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