Mediterranean Diet Associated with Improved Sexuality in Men


A study of 21,469 U.S. male health professionals, ages 40 to 75, found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet had a markedly reduced rate of erectile dysfunction (JAMA Netw Open, Nov 13, 2020;3(11):e2021701). The more closely they followed the dietary rules, the more likely they were to be able to achieve an erection. The diet included lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and fish or other sources of long-chain omega-3 fats, and avoided red meat and processed meats.

More than 18 million North American men suffer psychological distress because they are unable to sustain erections (J Urol, 2001;166(5):1774-1778). Erectile dysfunction is a major predictor of heart attacks (J Am Coll Cardiol, 2011;58(13):1378-1385), and preventing impotence involves avoiding the same risk factors that cause heart attacks (Arch Intern Med, 2011;171(20):1797-1803): smoking, obesity, an unhealthful diet, sedentary behavior, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

My Recommendations
Virtually every known risk factor for a heart attack is also a risk factor for sexual dysfunction. If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, you are at increased risk for both a heart attack and impotence.

All impotent men need a complete medical work up for the possible risk factors, which include heart disease, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, sleep disorders, prostate cancer, enlarged prostate, damage to pelvic or spinal nerves, low testosterone, psychological problems, depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, and interpersonal relationship problems. Some medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, or drugs to treat high blood pressure, pain or prostate conditions can also cause impotence.