According to data out of the American Journal Of Medicine, close to 1 in 5 American men above the age of 20 have erectile dysfunction [ED].
The risk of erectile dysfunction increases with age, but it also modified by the state of one’s overall physical and mental health.
Common Issues Which Increase ED Risk Include:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Cholesterol
- High Blood Sugar
As a dietitian with an interest in men’s health, I look at these risk factors and immediately recognize that one’s dietary pattern has a MASSIVE role to play in determining the levels of these important markers.
And then comes along a very intriguing observational study published just last year in the Urology journal which found that men whose diets scored higher on the hPDI ( Healthy Plant-Based Diet Index) had a lower risk of erectile dysfunction.
Let’s find out what that actually means.
Healthy Plant-Based Diet Index
The hPDI is simply a tool that researchers use to determine the extent to which nutrient-dense foods of plant-origin are incorporated into someone’s diet.
The more frequently they are consumed, the higher the score on the hPDI index.
The index considers one’s total intake of:
- Whole grains like brown rice, whole grain bread, quinoa
- Fruits and veggies of all types
- Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, tofu, edamame
- Nuts and seeds
All of which contribute to human health in unique ways, particularly via a high antioxidant as well as essential nutrient & fibre (tea/coffee excluded) content.
So what might explain the fact that the study out of Urology determined men who eat more of these foods have a lower risk for ED?
Let’s explore that next.
Plant-Based Diet Vs Erectile Dysfunction
As someone who is very familiar with the role that diet plays in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels – the results of this study do not surprise me at all.
If you click through the individual links above to my writing on those conditions, you’ll notice a consistent theme that the majority of the foods that are measured by the hPDI are associated with improvements in those blood markers.
Remember, that high levels of the aforementioned markers increase risk for erectile dysfunction whereas the plant-based foods discussed lower those levels.
Hopefully that now clarifies things.
All in all, it is quite reasonable to claim that a man who consumes more healthful plant-based foods has a lower risk of erectile dysfunction than a man who consumes less.
Remember eating more plant-based foods does not equate to going vegan or giving up animal products in those who don’t feel compelled to do so.
It does mean incorporating more of these extremely healthful foods than you are now, something that I help my clients do efficiently and enjoyably on a regular basis.
Need help in that area?
Don’t hesitate to reach out about working together.
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH