What You Eat. How You Eat. How It Makes A Difference.

Medically reviewed by Mr Craig Marsh
Written by Sonya Neville
Last reviewed 17/11/2021
4 minute read
Medically reviewed by Mr Craig Marsh
Written by David Parker
Last reviewed 17/11/2021
6 minute read

What you eat...

You already know how important it is to eat healthily.

Eating a poor diet can cause problems for your body, and lead to health problems in later life.

  • High cholesterol. 
  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.

The list goes on.

But what it can also do is make matters worse downstairs.

So if you’re getting erection problems, it might be worth having a look at your diet and seeing if there’s anything you can do better.

It might not completely solve the problem, but it should help to improve things. (And it definitely won’t do you any harm.)

Food before sex.

Less is more really.

Some men find it harder to get an erection after eating a large meal, because they aren’t as comfortable or are distracted by it.

You might feel more self-conscious getting down to business with a full stomach.

If you’re on an ED treatment like Viagra, it can take longer to work if you take one after eating a fatty meal. This is because the fat slows down absorption in the gut, so it takes longer for the drug to get into your bloodstream.

So whether you’re on treatment or not, really, the best thing to do it eat light before having sex. Maybe try to avoid particularly heavy foods high in carbohydrates, like pasta or potatoes, and keep your portion sizes small.

Erection boosting food?

Evidence is slim.

We’ve all heard the one about oysters being an aphrodisiac.

There’s anecdotal evidence, but it’s yet to be proven scientifically that there’s any pharmacological link between oysters and libido.

It’s the same with foods that supposedly boost erections.

Example. You’ll read online that chillies contain a chemical that can help to widen blood vessels, including those in your penis, and boost circulation. But this effect has been observed in a study conducted on rodents, not on humans. So we wouldn’t recommend eating a bagful before sex.

It’s true that some foods contain nutrients or vitamins that contribute to higher testosterone levels, and some foods contain antioxidants that can be beneficial for blood flow. Some foods that are high in fibre help us to produce more high density lipoproteins, which can help bring down high cholesterol.

But we haven’t seen any large-scale studies that convincingly suggest a direct correlation between specific foods and better erections.

Really, you’re better off trying to eat a healthy overall diet, rather than putting energy into researching specific foods that might (or might not) give you better erections.

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What you’ve eaten.

Think about what you’ve eaten in the last week.

Did you eat well consistently?

Did you eat a balanced and nutritional diet? Did you get your five a day? Did you keep track of how saturated fat, sugar and salt you ate? Did you drink 6-8 glasses of water a day?

You didn’t? Well, the truth is, eating well all the time is hard. Really hard.

It takes a lot of dedication and willpower. Try not to apply too much pressure on yourself if you’re not there just yet. We all struggle at times.

Knowing that you want to eat better is half the fight.

Eating well.

When it comes to eating well, being prepared is key.

That means having enough of the right stuff in your fridge and cupboards at home.

And making time to prepare food from scratch as much as you can.

The more you cook for yourself, the more control you have over what goes into the body.

Eating out can be a great social occasion, but doing it all the time can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet. For example, some restaurant versions of dishes might contain more oil or salt than the same dish would if you cooked it at home. Adding oil or salt is one way of making food taste nicer, and at the end of the day, restaurants are businesses and they want you to go back.

It’s not a case of not eating out. It’s more a case of making sure you’re only doing it in moderation.

So set aside some time each week. Think about what you’re going to cook for yourself and when, and write it down. Then you won’t be tempted to just wing it in the supermarket.

What we should eat.

Calories & salt.

Try to stay under 2,500 calories a day.

If you’re trying to lose weight, it might be worth aiming for around 2,000-2,200 for a while and seeing how it goes.

Keep an eye on how much salt you’re eating too.

For ED, this is a big one. Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure, and this can reduce blood flow to the penis. Majorly affecting erections.

Adults shouldn’t consume more than 2-6 grams a day. For reference, there’s about 4 grams in a teaspoon.

This 2-6 grams isn’t just salt you add from the salt pot. A lot of food already contains some level of salt, so make sure you read the packaging on what you’re eating to check if you aren’t sure.


Sugar is also something you should think about.

The reference intake (or in other words, recommended limit) for an adult you’ll see on packaging is 90 grams. But this is a bit misleading.

90 grams is the upper daily limit for total sugars. This includes sugar that’s naturally found in the foods you eat, like in vegetables.

For food or drink containing added sugar, the threshold is a lot lower. Foods containing added sugar should make up no more than 5% of your daily calorie intake. For most adults, this is equal to about 30 grams of sugar.

Again, for reference, there’s about 35 grams of sugar in a can of cola. A standard 50 gram chocolate bar might contain about 30 grams. A slice of cake or a baked dessert is likely to take you over the 30 gram threshold for added sugar.

Again, we’re not saying don’t eat cake ever. We’re just saying that it’s generally not a good idea to eat it everyday.

It’s not a case of not eating out. It’s more a case of making sure you’re only doing it in moderation.

Know your fats.

Some fat is good. The body needs it to take up vitamins and nutrients from food, and function normally.

But if you eat too much, the body can’t use it, and then this gets stored.

Saturated fat can raise cholesterol, and this can clog up the arteries, and in turn cause problems with blood flow to the penis.

This is the kind of fat you get in butter, fatty meat and cheese. So you’ll often see that foods like biscuits, cakes, pastries and pies, and ice cream will contain it.

Men should stick to less than 30 grams of saturated a day. Unsaturated fat is a healthier type of ffat. If you make switches to foods with unsaturated instead of saturated fats, this can help to lower cholesterol.

Foods that contain unsaturated fats are nuts, avocados, fish and olive oil.

Get your balance right.

You can’t cure ED with diet alone.

Living a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the severity of ED and even reverse the condition in some cases.

And eating a good diet is an integral part of this.

But so is exercising regularly, limiting how much alcohol you drink, not smoking and not taking recreational drugs. To be healthy and have an active sex life, all of these things are pretty important.

If you’re not happy with your lifestyle as it is, looking at your diet is a good place to start. Once you’re putting the time and energy into eating the way you want to, you’ll naturally want to exercise more and keep tabs on the bad stuff, so you’re making the most of it.

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