Foods for Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which the penis cannot obtain, or sustain, an erection firm enough for sex. ED is more common in older populations, affecting 44% of people with a penis ages 60 to 69, compared to 5% of those under age 40. However, cases of ED in younger age groups are becoming more prevalent.

While occasional occurrences of ED are common, it becomes a cause of concern if it happens more than 50% of the time. This means there may be an underlying psychological or physical issue that needs to be addressed. There are a number of potential causes of ED, and more than one factor may be to blame.

One of the biggest causes of ED is a lack of blood flow to the penis, which can happen due to high blood pressure (hypertension) or hardened arteries (atherosclerosis). As it turns out, diet can help both of these conditions, which in turn can help improve ED symptoms.

Read on below to learn more about how your diet may play a role in ED and what foods may help improve the condition.

Man eating healthy food
Getty Images, Basak Gurbuz Derman.

Foods That May Help Erectile Dysfunction

Spinach

Spinach is a low-calorie, leafy green vegetable with a high density of various vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B2, vitamin C, calcium, and more.

Spinach also contains a substantial amount of folate, which is also known as vitamin B9. A 1-cup serving of raw spinach contains 58 micrograms (mcg) of folate. Folate deficiencies have been linked to ED.

Avocado

Avocado is a high-calorie, nutrient-dense fruit. It is an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

When it comes to ED, avocados also contain a rich amount of vitamin E. A 100 gram (g) serving of avocado contains 2.7 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E. A 2021 study found vitamin E and ginseng improved symptoms of ED after six weeks. The researchers hypothesized vitamin E and ginseng would be beneficial in cases of ED due to their antioxidant properties.

Watermelon

Watermelon is a water-dense, low-calorie fruit that's composed of 92% water. It contains citrulline, a compound known to help relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.

A 2018 study found that study participants that supplemented their ED medication (like Viagra) with L-citrulline-resveratrol saw improvements.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties, and may reduce the risk of someone developing ED.

In 2018, a study showed that participants who ate 50 milligrams (mg) or more of flavonoids daily were 32% less likely to report symptoms of ED.

Flavonoids are also present in various nuts and grains, vegetables, tea, and wine. However, when it comes to wine, moderation is best, as alcohol can increase the risk of ED.

A Word From Verywell

ED can, understandably, be a frustrating and concerning experience. However, there are steps individuals can take to enhance their reproductive health. One area often forgotten is diet.

Research shows that eating a balanced diet is vital for overall health, and sexual health is no exception. Incorporating more nutritious foods such as spinach, watermelon, olive oil, salmon, and others may help improve symptoms of ED.

Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Again, while bouts of ED are common, repeated instances may signify an underlying physical or psychological issue that needs to be taken care of.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does diet affect erectile dysfunction?

    Diet can play a role in erectile dysfunction when underlying physical issues are a cause. For example, hypertension. Diet can help improve cases of hypertension, thus improving ED.

  • What can I drink for erectile dysfunction?

    Researchers have looked into whether coffee and/or caffeine can help with ED symptoms. However, the results have been inconclusive, some finding a link and others finding no link at all.

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7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Cleveland Clinic. Erectile dysfunction. Updated October 14, 2019.

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  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. Updated April 2019.

  5. Vitamin E and ginseng combined supplement for treatment of male erectile dysfunction: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, clinical trialAdvances in Integrative Medicine. 2021;8(1):44-49. doi:10.1016/j.aimed.2019.12.001

  6. Shirai M, Hiramatsu I, Aoki Y, et al. Oral l-citrulline and transresveratrol supplementation improves erectile function in men with phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot studySex Med. 2018;6(4):291-296. doi:10.1016/j.esxm.2018.07.001

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