Erectile dysfunction (ED) may seem like an issue that exclusively affects sexual health, but it could actually be a telling indicator of larger issues with overall wellness. The issue could simply be a result of a lifestyle change, such as a new medication. For the majority of men, however, the underlying cause of ED is related to a physical issue, such as high cholesterol, clogged arteries, or high blood pressure.
The remedy for ED could, therefore, lie in making changes to promote better overall health. Here are some natural tactics you could try to improve both your wellness and your sex life:
Be Mindful of Heart Health
Your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels all influence the arteries in the heart, brain, and penis. It’s therefore essential to both your sexual and overall health that you monitor and control these levels. Meet with your doctor regularly to discuss your vascular health, and if needed, pursue lifestyle changes and medications to get on track.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a known cause of ED, so losing weight if needed and maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) are some ways to combat the issue. Being overweight also contributes to diabetes and vascular disease risk, which are also causes of ED. Moreover, excess fat can alter hormone levels, which can play a role in the condition. Set a goal to reach and maintain a healthy weight to prevent or alleviate ED.
Men who exercise regularly are 20-30% less likely to develop ED than their sedentary peers, according to a Harvard Health study. While participants in the study either ran or completed vigorous outdoor work, moderate and low-impact workouts can be beneficial, too. In fact, walking just 30 minutes a day is linked to a 41% drop in ED risk – proof that you don’t need to become a marathoner to enjoy the health benefits of physical activity.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Diet influences many aspects of health, and sexual wellness is no exception. According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, men who follow a diet rich in natural foods including vegetables, whole grains, and fish were less likely to experience ED than their peers. Limiting or avoiding refined grains and red or processed meats is also beneficial, according to the study.
Strengthen the Pelvic Floor
If you think Kegels are just for women, think again. Pelvic floor strength is important for both men and women. Men, in particular, need strength in this area to maintain rigid erections and prevent blood from leaving the penis. One study in the UK even showed that doing Kegels twice a day for three months, combined with healthy habits like weight loss and smoking cessation, showed better results than lifestyle changes alone.
Addressing ED isn’t always simple since it often involves a complex interplay of physical, hormonal, and psychological factors. Yet, trying these tactics can’t hurt, as their benefits will extend to your overall health while increasing your odds of combatting ED.