We celebrate Men’s health in the month of June so we will address one of the issues that affects about half of middle-aged men in America, and many others regardless of age, ED or Erectile Dysfunction. As men we ask ourselves not IF but “When will it happen to me?” Next to baldness, we fear it and want to avoid it like the plague itself. But there is a way to delay, avoid and treat it naturally, cheaper and less embarrassing than buying the BLUE pills.
Erectile dysfunction can have many causes from psychological factors like stress, depression and anxiety to organic causes like older age, obesity and high blood pressure to name a few. Oftentimes, erectile dysfunction is a consequence of unhealthy lifestyles. Specifically those that lead to a decrease in nitric oxide (NO), a potent dilator of blood vessels that improves blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout our body.
For those that have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, these conditions can decrease healthy oxygen-rich blood from getting to tissues and organs including the genital area. Without good blood flow, the penis fails to reach full tumescence (engorgement or swelling, erection) in preparation for sexual activity. ED can be a common symptom associated with high blood pressure & high cholesterol. But what about those that don’t have these conditions or don’t know but already experience ED?
In many men, this can be the canary in the coal mine. An early warning that your body is already dealing with these or other health conditions that may be undiagnosed. So what can you do?
First talk to your doctor about your ED and have a full workup to find the potential root cause of the problem. Second, if you are already experiencing ED, in the wise words of our elders “Eat your vegetables!” Maybe Grandpa already knew how to treat this problem, and has been throwing hints at you to prevent the problem early.
What Grandpa is likely referring to is the fact that plant foods have natural building blocks and protective compounds to help your body produce more nitric oxide. Green plants like kale, arugula, chard, spinach, parsley, Chinese cabbage, leeks, celery, radishes, beets and other turnips are rich in nitrates that easily get converted to nitric oxide.
Other foods contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds like flavanols in cocoa, vitamin C in citrus foods, and pomegranate extract can help activate nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that converts the amino acid Arginine to nitric oxide. Even nuts like pistachios, seeds and watermelon can also increase levels of arginine in your body to build more nitric oxide.
Eating these and other plant based foods can also decrease your cholesterol, decrease your blood pressure, help with weight loss and even improve the good bacteria in your GI tract that also contribute to nitric oxide production. Remember, digestion starts in your mouth, so chew your plant foods slowly and completely to get the most nitric oxide possible.
The BLUE pill and others like it try to copy the action of nitric oxide by blocking the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5, which in turn relaxes the smooth muscle of blood vessels, leading to dilation of those blood vessels and increased blood flow, which in turn may cause an erection. However, despite these medications being relatively safe, they do have certain side effects, contraindications, and sometimes don’t work too well or at all in some men despite higher doses or various medication attempts.
The takeaway, some men that consumed more green foods or nuts like pistachios have reported better quality and frequency of erections, happier sexual lives and improved stamina. Athletes have reported improved endurance, speed and even strength when consuming more greens in their diet too.
So eat more plant-based foods, eat your greens and “stay virile my friends.”
Dr. Prisiliano Salas
with Salveo Direct Care
Photograph taken from artwork displayed at Green Vegetarian Cuisine @greenvegetarian @greenvegetarian_sa