Plenty of things can do a number on your erection: poor cardiovascular health, alcohol consumption, smoking, and taking certain medications all come to mind when you think of the usual suspects of problems with your “plumbing”, so to speak.
However, one of the most notorious mood killers might just have flown under the radar in the form of poor nutrition. What you put in your body and how often you put them in your body can ruin your mood, energy, circulation, and hormone production – all of which play integral roles in maintaining a healthy sex life.
And just as there are many food sources to help maintain your erections, boost your sperm quality, and increase your testosterone levels, the same is true about eating habits that kill off your libido.
Let’s take a look at the six ways your diet could ruin your sex life – and what you can do to raise your performance levels when you need to the most.
A diet high in saturated fat and sugars
Ultimately, erectile dysfunction is a cardiovascular issue. Clogged arteries prevent blood from flowing to your penis, which leads to erectile dysfunction. The same is true when you have cardiovascular problems.
Having a healthy ticker means an increased likelihood of enjoying healthy sex. It’s no different from getting a good workout. Good exercise sessions require optimal stamina, endurance, and strength – like a five-star bedroom romp does.
Men struggling with obesity possess lower testosterone levels – the very same hormone that nourishes your sex drive.
Not all heavy-set men have low T, but the probability of experiencing it increases the higher your weight balloons.
The solution? Consume more nutrient-rich whole foods that help improve your sexual performance, and get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise on a weekly basis. Any activity that helps reduce fat in your body will naturally increase your testosterone levels. And the more your body builds up stamina, strength, and endurance, the longer you can go in the gym – and the bedroom.
Drinking too much
While getting the booze on might help you turn up the confidence levels up a notch, having too many drinks hanging off your dick will spell trouble getting it up when it matters.
Alcohol is a proven depressant, and its consumption can contribute to dulling the feelings of sexual stimuli and reduce the blood flow leading to and from your penis. Why? Because your body’s working overtime to expel the alcohol from your body, rather than focusing on fueling your hard-on.
Worse, binge drinking can seriously diminish your testosterone levels and increase estrogen, which can rob you of your sex drive, dampen the mood, and make it infinitely harder to achieve mind-blowing orgasms even when you can get it hard enough.
The more you drink, the more difficult it is to get and stay hard. Want to keep your erection at its best? Cut off the booze to one drink per day – or just drop it entirely.
Overindulging on sweets
High-sugar diets affect overall cardiovascular health, and consequently affects your reproductive health. Sugar also reduces your sex drive due to its effect of diminishing your T levels. According to a 2013 study, individuals who consumed twice the recommended daily intake of sugar for men experienced a 25% decrease in average T levels.
That’s not to mention the subsequent sugar crash, which might leave you too exhausted to even think about having sex.
The solution is to consume natural sugars rather than high-fructose corn syrup, whenever possible. As far as added sugars in baked goods and soft drinks are concerned, the AHA recommends consuming no more than 36 grams per day for men.
Eating huge portions
Overeating is never a good thing. Not only does overeating lead to weight gain and worse overall cardiovascular health, but worse, it can seriously affect your performance in bed due to the way it diminishes your energy.
Consuming high amounts of carbohydrates and sugars may lead to crashing afterwards, much like sugars would. On the other hand, consuming refined carbohydrates leads to a jolt in blood sugar levels, which your body tries to control by producing more insulin – making you feel even more exhausted.
Therefore, if you have big plans tonight, try to stick to small meals throughout the day, rather than polishing down a huge meal thrice a day. Stick with protein-rich food sources and whole foods like fiber-rich oats and veggies.
Vegan diets may lead to unwanted and unexpected results below the belt and between the sheets. In spite of the myriad benefits of eating more veggies and fruits, omitting animal products entirely increases your chances of developing deficient vitamin D levels – which may be bad news for your pecker.
The lack of vitamin D may increase your risks of experiencing erectile dysfunction. When your body doesn’t get sufficient vitamin D for any reason whatsoever, your body might struggle to produce adequate amounts of nitric oxide, which is the key component of optimal blood flow – and the building block from which erections are triggered.
Here’s a bit of good news, however: if you’re a vegan, you can increase your vitamin D intake to recommended daily levels (if not up to 5000 IU of vitamin D) if they are proven to have deficient vitamin D levels.
The solution is to get out more often and bask in the sun, but that might not be a realistic solution for those of us living in the northern hemisphere or when it isn’t sunny all-year round. To make matters even worse, vitamin D is rather scarce when it comes to obtaining it through food sources, but it isn’t an uphill battle.
Eat more omega-3-rich fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel, and increase your intake of eggs and foods fortified with vitamin D like milk, cereal, and cheese are all fantastic options that will do in a pinch.
Plant-based diets are a little more difficult to supplement vitamin D with, so it is ideal to consult your doctor if you suspect something is amiss with your vitamin D levels. Your doctor will best be able to determine the appropriate dose that fits your daily needs and potentially be able to recommend a supplement for you to take.