It's one of the most common – and embarrassing – conditions that comes with age...
More than 30 million American men experience this significant health problem, but a staggering 75% don't seek treatment. They typically don't want to talk about it... or even hint at it... even though it's often treatable with some simple lifestyle changes.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to have or maintain an erection. Getting an erection requires psychological effort and work from your nerves, blood vessels, and hormone system.
Here are some of the most common causes:
- High blood pressure
- Depression or anxiety
- Nerve disorders (i.e. Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis)
Any one of these can lead to ED. Medications like antidepressants and some operations (like prostate surgery) also have ED as a side effect.
But a recent study from researchers from Australia's University of Adelaide supports my recommendations that simple lifestyle changes are enough to reverse ED. The study, published in the Journal of Sexual Health, found that 29% of participants (aged 35 to 80 years) reversed their erectile dysfunction by losing weight, sleeping and eating better, and cutting alcohol consumption.
It's what I've said for years – simple lifestyle changes are much more beneficial than a bunch of pills. I think we'll find that changing several aspects of your life will all help ED. If you want to get started today, try my top four recommendations:
1) Exercise. A Harvard study a few years ago showed that even just walking for 30 minutes a day helps lower the risk of ED by 41%. Losing those few extra pounds will help too. More weight on your body strains your cardiovascular system, which can lower the blood flow to your penis.
2) Drink coffee. A study from the University of Texas Health Science Center found that men who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had a lower risk for ED.
Of the 3,700 men surveyed, those who drank one to two cups of coffee a day reported 42% fewer cases of ED compared with men who drank no coffee. And men who drank two to three cups per day reported 39% fewer cases.
The researchers believe coffee improves blood flow to the penis and relaxes certain smooth muscles. We already know the many benefits of coffee and that the two-to-three-cup amount hits the most benefits.
3) Try the Mediterranean diet. Several trials have shown that eating a diet similar to what people living around the Mediterranean Sea eat – one that's rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and fish – helps your immune system. It even helps keep your brain healthy and fights off signs of aging.
As it turns out, the Mediterranean diet also helps reverse ED. A study from the University of Naples showed that men who tried the diet for two years saw improvement.
Plus, these men all had metabolic syndrome – a fancy way of saying they had high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and excess fat around their middles. So they had several factors causing ED... making their improvements that much more significant.
4) Get the right amount of sleep. Studies have shown a link between sleep deprivation and ED.
Researchers explain that testosterone is made during your sleeping hours. That means if you aren't sleeping enough or aren't sleeping well, your testosterone levels will drop, which leads to ED.
Because of this link, ED could also signal a deeper problem with sleep.
A study from Mount Sinai Medical Center found that 63% of patients reporting ED tested positive for sleep apnea, a condition where your breathing starts and stops irregularly during sleep.
Sleeping well is crucial for so many aspects of our health. You can read my tips on how to improve your sleep "hygiene" right here.
The research is clear – making lifestyle changes can significantly improve or even reverse your ED. So before you or your loved one starts popping pills, give these four tips a try.
Do what I do and eat well, enjoy a few cups of coffee each morning, go for a walk at lunch, and get plenty of sleep.
What We're Reading…
- A breakdown of some unusual foods to help get you in the mood.
- Men's Fitness explains why we need to "Sleep or Die."
- Something different: The surprising food our ancestors ate.