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Your lifestyle can have a large impact on your health but you probably already know that.

One of the things that can be dramatically affected by your lifestyle choices is your sexual health. There are many facets of sexual health but the most commonly diagnosed sexual problem in men is erectile dysfunction.

While erectile dysfunction does *increase in prevalence as men age, [1] it does not have to be a normal part of the aging process.

There are many medications and therapies that can help *alleviate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction once they become a problem in your life but, as with most things, wouldn’t it be better to stop the problem in its tracks long before it ever has the chance to start?

Well, we have some good news for you! There are several things you can do to naturally help *prevent erectile dysfunction from becoming an issue in your life. Read on to see what steps you can take to keep your sexual health in tip-top shape…

Get Healthy

Many facets of your health can help or hinder your ability to get an erection. Taking care of your heart and watching your weight can help ensure you avoid an erectile dysfunction diagnosis.

Watch Your Weight

It’s important to maintain a healthy weight for a variety of reasons including the fact that your weight plays a significant role in your sexual health.

Men who are overweight tend to have a *higher rate of sexual problems, especially erectile dysfunction. [2] Studies have shown that when men *lose weight, their sex lives generally *improve. If they were living with erectile dysfunction already, the condition is almost always *alleviated.

  • Diet – To avoid erectile dysfunction, eating a healthy diet is key. Studies conducted in recent years have shown that a diet that resembles that of people in the Mediterranean is great for avoiding erectile dysfunction. [3] The reasoning behind this is that this type of diet tends to be very good for the heart and, as you will see later, heart health is vital to sexual health. Not only can eating this way *prevent you from developing erectile dysfunction in the first place but it has also been shown to *reverse it in men already living with the disease.
  • Exercise – Again, just about anything that’s good for the heart is good for your sexual health. This includes you staying active and getting enough exercise. Cardio exercise can help *improve your blood flow, resulting in *better blood flow to the genitals and *better erections whereas strength-based exercise can *improve testosterone levels. Testosterone also plays an important role in the ability to achieve and maintain erections. [4]

Avoid Diabetes

Being overweight can present other health problems that *increase the risk of developing erectile dysfunction as well.

Maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid diabetes which has been heavily linked to erectile dysfunction. [5] Diabetes causes problems within the endothelial system and also plays a role in messing up the body’s hormones. Avoiding diabetes can help make sure you don’t develop cardiovascular problems and it will keep hormones like testosterone steady.

Keep Up with Your Cardiovascular Health

When a man becomes aroused, the spongy tissue in the sexual organ fills with blood and becomes longer and thicker to form an erection.

The cardiovascular system is vitally important to a man’s ability to get and retain an erection. Anything that has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system can *impair a man’s ability to get an erection or to sustain it long enough for sexual intercourse.

Among the things that can negatively affect your cardiovascular system are high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Both of these diseases can impair your body’s blood vessels. When your blood can’t flow well through your body, it cannot get to your genital area and you won’t be able to achieve an erection.

Sometimes these problems can be hard to avoid, especially if they run in your family. Most people can make a few lifestyle changes that will help them sidestep these heart health pitfalls, though.

Erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular health play off of one another as well. A diagnosis of erectile dysfunction can be an early indicator of problems with your heart and cardiovascular system. [6] Taking care of your heart is important for your whole health.

Some things you can do to improve your heart health are:

  • Use healthy fats like olive oil
  • Enjoy fish like salmon at least once a week
  • Avoid too much red meat
  • Exercise often
  • Relax!

Other Preventative Steps You Can Take

There are a few other things you can do to *lower your risk of developing erectile dysfunction…

Go easy on the alcohol. Evidence has shown that drinking too much alcohol can impair your sexual function. [7] While there is nothing wrong with an occasional beer or even a fun night out once in a while, men who are dependent on alcohol or abuse it are far more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Don’t smoke. If you already do, try to quit. Smoking is not only bad for your overall health but it can also create problems in your cardiovascular system which we know plays a large role in your sexual function. Studies show that men who were smokers but quit have no difference in the risk of developing erectile dysfunction than men who never smoked. [8]

In addition, make sure you get enough rest and adequate time for relaxation. Be mindful of your stress levels and take good overall care of yourself.

In Closing

Ensuring your all-around health is in good shape can help maximize the chance that your sexual health remains in good shape too.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key component to guaranteeing your body stays healthy and that your sexual organ functions properly.

References

[1] Romanelli F, Sansone A, Lenai A (2010) Erectile Dysfunction in Aging Males. Acta Biomed 81 Suppl 1:89-94

[2] Kolotkin RL, Zunker C, Ostbyte T (2012) Sexual Functioning and Obesity: A Review. Obesity (Silver Spring) 20(12): 235-33

[3] Francesco S, Tenaglia R (2017) Mediterranean Diet and Erectile Dysfunction: A Current Perspective. Cent European J Urol 70(2): 185-187

[4] Lamina S, Agbanusi EC, Nwacha R (2011) Effects of Aerobic Exercise in the Management of Erectile Dysfunction” A Meta-Analysis Study on Randomized Controlled Trials. Ethiop J Health Sci 21(3): 195-201

[5] Tameir R (2009) Diabetes, Obesity, and Erectile Dysfunction. Gend Med 6 Suppl 1:4-16

[6] Ponholzer A, Temmi C, Obermayr R, Wehrberger C, Madersbacher S (2005) Is Erectile Dysfunction an Indicator for Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke? Eur Urol 48(3): 512-8

[7] Arackal B, Benegal V (2007) Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunction in Male Subjects with Alcohol Dependence. Indian J Psychiatry 49(2): 109-112

[8] McVary KT, Carrier S, Wessells H, (2001) Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: Evidence Based Analysis. J Urol 166(5): 1624:32

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