Fact or Fiction: Can One of These 24 Foods Really Help Erectile Dysfunction?

Foods that can help erectile dysfunction

As a sex therapist, I often see patients who deal with erectile dysfunction. And even though I’m a psychologist by training, many of these patients ask me about whether different foods can help with erectile dysfunction.

Research tells us that obesity and bad lifestyle habits can lead to erectile dysfunction, and that eating a healthy diet can help improve and even reverse erectile dysfunction.

But people are often interested in the impact of specific foods on erectile dysfunction. I used my researching skills and credentials to see if there is any evidence to suggest that specific foods can help prevent or cure ED.

In this article, we will examine a wide range of 24 food items and determine whether there is scientific evidence to support the claim that they can help men improve erectile function.

How can different foods help erectile dysfunction?

Eating certain foods may help erectile dysfunction in one of two ways: 

  1. First, by helping the underlying physical causes of ED, mainly by improving blood flow to the penis. 
  2. Second, by alleviating some of the psychological causes of ED, such as performance anxiety, stress, or depression.

Since we know that different foods can have a positive impact on these factors, in theory, they may also have a positive impact on erectile dysfunction.

Watermelon

What does the research say?

A study was conducted on rats to see if watermelon extract could help with erectile dysfunction. The results showed that watermelon did have a positive effect on the rats’ sexual behavior and did not cause any harm. This suggests that watermelon may be helpful for rats with erectile dysfunction, but more research is needed to determine its effects on humans.

How can it help?

Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which is converted into another amino acid called arginine in the body. Arginine is used to produce nitric oxide, a chemical that helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. This can improve blood flow to the penis and help men achieve and maintain an erection.

Conclusion

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that men with erectile dysfunction should rely solely on eating watermelon as a solution for their condition. While watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, that may help improve blood flow, more research is needed to identify its effects on humans. 

Beetroot

What does the research say?

There is currently no strong scientific evidence to support the claims that beetroot can help erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

One cause of ED is high blood pressure, which can damage blood vessels and disrupt blood flow to the penis. Researchers have found that drinking beet juice may lower blood pressure.

Beetroot is rich in nitric oxide, which helps relax the smooth muscles of the blood vessels and increase blood flow to the penis. This improves erections.

A study looked at the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with beetroot juice supplementation on anxiety and depression in rats. Both HIIT and beetroot juice were found to be complementary when it came to improving anxiety and depression, and they enhanced each other’s effects.

In theory, beetroot juice could help with psychogenic erectile dysfunction since anxiety and depression can cause erectile difficulties.

Conclusion

There isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the idea that beetroot can help with erectile dysfunction. So, it’s best not to rely on it as a treatment for either psychological or physical ED.

Pomegranate juice

What does the research say?

A study suggests that drinking pomegranate juice could help men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. 

It checked 53 men with mild to moderate ED. One group drank pomegranate juice, and the other group received a placebo. Of the 42 men who showed improvement in their global assessment questionnaire scores after drinking the beverage, 25 reported improvement after drinking the pomegranate juice.

Even though the results weren’t statistically significant (meaning that the results weren’t strong enough to draw conclusions), this pilot study suggests that pomegranate juice could be used as part of the treatment for erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

Pomegranate juice is a powerful antioxidant that can increase levels of nitric oxide in the blood vessels and help with atherosclerosis-related erectile dysfunction. In other words, nitric oxide helps increase blood flow to the penis. In addition, pomegranate juice contains anthocyanins, which are potent polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants.

Conclusion

While there is some evidence that pomegranate juice could help with erectile dysfunction, more research is needed to know for sure.

Garlic

What does the research say?

There isn’t any research to show that garlic can help with erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

Some research suggests that garlic could help with erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow. Garlic contains compounds like allicin that can improve blood flow and blood vessel function.

Conclusion

While eating garlic can help improve blood flow, simply adding garlic to your diet will probably not be enough to cure erectile dysfunction.

Apple cider vinegar

What does the research say?

There aren’t any scientific studies that show apple cider vinegar can directly treat erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

Apple cider vinegar could have some benefits for conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes that can lead to ED. But more research is needed to know if it can help with erectile dysfunction.

Conclusion

Apple cider vinegar could help men with obesity and type 2 diabetes, but there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that it can improve erections.

Apple juice

What does the research say?

There aren’t any studies that mention apple juice helping with erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

It’s not clear how apple juice could help with erectile dysfunction.

Conclusion

It doesn’t seem like apple juice can help men with erectile dysfunction.

Bananas

What does the research say?

Bananas are rich in flavonoids. A study found that men under 70 who eat more flavonoids have a lower risk of ED. Eating more fruit, which is a major source of anthocyanins and flavanones, was linked to a 14% reduction in the risk of ED.

How can it help?

Flavonoids help reduce blood pressure and increase endothelial functioning, both of which help increase blood flow.

Conclusion

There isn’t enough proof to say that eating bananas can cure ED. But, eating fruits (including bananas) and having a healthy diet can help prevent and even improve ED.

Pistachios

What does the research say?

A 2011 study found that people who ate Antep pistachios had better results on a test that measures erectile function. Also, an ultrasound showed that the patients had better blood flow to their penis. They ate 100 grams (about 3.53 oz) of pistachios every day for 3 weeks.

Overall, the study suggests that eating Antep pistachios might help people with ED have better erections.

How can it help?

Pistachios have antioxidants and arginine that might help blood flow. Some studies show that taking L-arginine can help men with ED caused by physical problems, but more research on this topic is needed.

Conclusion

Adding pistachios to your diet can be a healthy choice, but even though the small study we mentioned showed positive results, there simply isn’t enough evidence to show that eating pistachios can be used as a treatment for ED.

Lemons, Limes and Lemonade

What does the research say?

A 2022 study discovered that lime and lemon juices might enhance erectile function. Additionally, mixing lime juice with sildenafil (Viagra) could be highly effective in managing ED. However, it’s important to note that this study was conducted on rats and not humans. Further research is necessary to confirm these findings.

On the other hand, another study found that lemon juice doesn’t make Viagra work better.

How can it help?

Lemon juice might work by boosting the production of nitric oxide, which helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. It could also help by blocking certain enzymes that can interfere with sexual function.

Conclusion

There’s mixed evidence about whether lemon and lime can help with ED. Even though lemons are healthy and full of vitamin C, it might be better to look for another solution for ED.

Celery Juice

What does the research say?

There’s no research that shows celery juice can help with ED.

How can it help?

A case study found that a 74-year-old man who drank celery juice every day for 6 months had lower blood pressure, which can help with ED. Another study also found good results in rats. 

Conclusion

Celery juice has lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but there isn’t enough proof to say that it can cure ED.

Pineapple

What does the research say?

According to a study published in the Journal of Urology fresh pineapple juice might help improve erections.

How can it help?

Bromelain is a mix of enzymes in pineapples that can help relax penile tissue. The study found that bromelain, bromelain supplements, and fresh pineapple juice all helped relax penile tissue after it had tightened.

Conclusion

Pineapples are a healthy fruit that holds many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also a useful source of bromelain. But even though pineapples have many health benefits, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that men should seriously consider them as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Mushrooms

What does the research say?

There is very little evidence that shows that mushrooms can help with erectile dysfunction. A study done on rats suggests that chaga mushroom aqueous extract might have the potential to be a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

The study found that an aqueous extract of chaga mushroom can induce relaxation in the corpus cavernosum smooth muscle, potentially improving blood flow to the penis.

Conclusion

Apart from the study mentioned earlier, there is no evidence to suggest that consuming mushrooms can help with erectile dysfunction. While mushrooms may have some benefits for conditions that can lead to ED, it is not enough to rely on them as a solution.

Probiotics

What does the research say?

In recent years, four different studies have been published that examined the relationship between gut microbiome and various physical and psychological factors of erectile dysfunction. All of these studies found some connection between gut microbiome and erectile dysfunction.

This study aimed to explore the relationship between gut microbiota diversity and psychological erectile dysfunction. 

The study found a significant difference in flora diversity between the ED group and the control group, with the ED group having lower bacterial diversity. This suggests that there is an association between low gut microbiota diversity and ED.

Another study on rats found that variations in gut microbiota can contribute to the development of ED in rats with type 2 diabetes.

A third study found that changes in the bacteria in the gut can affect prostate health by causing inflammation. These changes can also lead to ED by changing hormone levels and causing other health problems like obesity and high blood pressure. An imbalance in gut bacteria can also affect stress and anxiety levels, which can affect sexual function.

A fourth study also found a connection between low gut microbiota and psychological ED, which can be caused by things like performance anxiety, stress, and depression.

How can it help?

Probiotics can help improve the diversity and balance of the bacteria in our gut. So, if there’s a connection between an imbalanced gut microbiota and ED, taking probiotics might help.

A big study that looked at 34 other studies found that taking probiotics can have a small but helpful effect on depression and anxiety. This means that probiotics might help reduce depression and anxiety, which can cause ED.

Conclusion

There is some interesting research on this topic, but there isn’t a clear treatment plan for using probiotics to treat ED yet. It’s also not clear if gut microbiota causes conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression that can lead to ED, or if it’s the other way around. 

If you have digestion problems, it’s best to talk to your doctor. If you’re dealing with psychological causes of ED like performance anxiety, stress, and depression, it’s best to try more recognized treatments like mindfulness meditation-based CBT.

Grape seed extract

What does the research say?

There is no research that shows that grape seed extract can directly help erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

A study found that grape seed oil might help reduce anxiety levels. Since anxiety can cause ED, some people think that grape seed oil might help men with ED caused by anxiety.

Conclusion

There simply isn’t enough evidence to suggest that grape seed extract can help with erectile dysfunction.

Grapefruit

What does the research say?

One study on rats found that grapefruit peel extract can reverse the negative effects of a drug called paroxetine on erectile function. This means that grapefruit peel extract might be a good treatment for ED. 

Other studies [1,2] have also shown that grapefruit juice can make some ED drugs work better.

How can it help?

Grapefruit peels have antioxidants and other helpful substances that can help keep your heart healthy and improve blood flow. Drinking grapefruit juice can also make ED drugs like sildenafil work better and last longer in your body.

Conclusion

Studies have found that grapefruit may help improve the effects of ED drugs like Viagra and reduce the sexual side effects of antidepressants like paroxetine. However, more research is needed before doctors can recommend it as a treatment.

In addition, grapefruit juice can have negative interactions with many medications. It is important to consult your doctor before consuming  grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

Cucumber

What does the research say?

There’s no proof that cucumbers can help with ED.

How can it help?

Some sources say that cucumbers and other fruits and veggies that have an enzyme called L-Arginine can help with ED. L-Arginine can help improve blood flow to the penis.

Conclusion

There’s not much proof that cucumbers can help with ED.

Oysters

What does the research say?

There isn’t any strong scientific evidence that suggests oysters can help improve erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

According to a study, oysters can boost testosterone and cAMP levels in male mice. These two substances are important for erectile function. The study also found that oysters can increase the activity of an enzyme in the mouse penis that is closely related to ED.

Conclusion

While oysters have been traditionally used in some cultures as natural aphrodisiacs to combat erectile dysfunction, there simply isn’t enough evidence to support this idea.

Onions

What does the research say?

According to this study conducted on rats, red onion juice may help improve ED caused by a certain medication used to treat an enlarged prostate.

Another study found that drinking FRS 1000, a beverage containing flavonoids extracted from onion peel, may help improve erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

The antioxidative flavonoid quercetin, which is extracted from onion peel has been shown to help improve erectile dysfunction by blocking the activity of an enzyme called PDE 5A, which can cause erectile dysfunction.

Conclusion

Some studies suggest that onion peel extract might help with erectile dysfunction, but there isn’t enough evidence to say for sure that onions can be used as a treatment.

Oatmeal

What does the research say?

There isn’t much evidence available that suggests oatmeal can help with erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

Oatmeal is a healthy food with lots of benefits. It has soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, which is important because blood flow issues can cause ED. 

Oatmeal can also help with weight management because it keeps you full longer, and being overweight is a risk factor for ED. Plus, oatmeal has beta-glucan, which can lower the risk of diabetes and promote a healthy gut.

Conclusion 

Oatmeal is a healthy food that can help prevent some health issues that can lead to ED. However, it’s not a cure for ED by itself.

Peanuts

What does the research say?

There isn’t a lot of scientific research on whether eating peanuts can help with erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

There’s no direct evidence that peanuts can help with erectile dysfunction. However, some of the health benefits of peanuts, like supporting heart health and managing blood sugar levels, may indirectly help prevent some health issues that can lead to ED. 

For example, heart disease and diabetes are both risk factors for ED. So, keeping your heart and blood sugar healthy may help reduce the risk of developing ED.

Conclusion

Some of the health benefits of peanuts may indirectly help prevent health issues that can lead to ED. 

However, there’s no direct evidence that peanuts can help with erectile dysfunction. So, men shouldn’t rely only on eating peanuts to treat their ED.

Cacao and chocolate

What does the research say?

There isn’t strong evidence to suggest that eating dark chocolate or cacao can help with erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

A 2018 study found that not eating enough flavonoids can increase the risk of ED in young men. Cacao and dark chocolate are both good sources of flavonoids.

Research has shown that eating dark chocolate rich in flavonoids can improve blood flow in healthy adults. This could explain why it may help men with ED caused by blood flow problems.

Some studies suggest that eating dark chocolate can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. This could potentially help with psychological ED.

Conclusion

There isn’t strong evidence that eating dark chocolate or cacao can directly help with ED. However, if you’re not eating enough flavonoids, it might be a good idea to add foods rich in flavonoids, like dark chocolate, to your diet.

Carrots

What does the research say?

According to this study, carrots are believed to improve sexual function and desire by boosting testosterone levels. 

How can it help?

Low testosterone levels can sometimes cause problems with getting or keeping an erection. Boosting testosterone levels may help some men with this type of ED see an improvement.

Conclusion

There isn’t strong scientific evidence to support the idea that carrots can help with ED. Few studies have been done on humans. So, while carrots may have some potential benefits for ED, more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness.

Spinach

What does the research say?

There aren’t any studies that have directly looked at the relationship between eating spinach and ED.

How can it help?

A study looked at how eating foods with flavonoids, like spinach and other fruits and vegetables, can affect the chances of getting ED. The study found that men who ate more flavonoids were less likely to get ED.

Conclusion

In summary, there aren’t any studies that directly look at the relationship between eating spinach and ED. However, there is evidence that eating foods rich in flavonoids, like spinach, may help reduce the risk of ED. So, adding more flavonoid-rich foods to your diet may be helpful.

Blueberries

What does the research say?

It’s difficult to find any readily available research that links blueberries to erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

A study found that men who ate more flavonoids had a lower chance of getting ED. Blueberries are a good source of flavonoids, specifically anthocyanins. So, incorporating more flavonoid-rich foods like blueberries into your diet may be beneficial in reducing the risk of ED.

Conclusion

Since there isn’t any direct research that links blueberries to treating erectile dysfunction, men shouldn’t solely rely on eating blueberries for treating this condition. However, incorporating blueberries into a healthy diet could still be beneficial in reducing the risk of ED.

Tuna

What does the research say?

I couldn’t find any research that looked into whether eating tuna can have an effect on erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

Tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving blood flow. Erectile dysfunction is often caused by poor blood flow to the penis, so improving blood flow through the consumption of omega-3s found in tuna could theoretically help with ED. 

Conclusion

Since there is no direct research on the effectiveness of tuna in treating erectile dysfunction, men should not solely rely on tuna as a treatment for ED. However, incorporating tuna and other foods rich in omega-3s into a healthy diet may be beneficial for overall health and may indirectly improve sexual health. 

Avocado

What does the research say?

I was unable to find any research that investigated whether eating avocado can affect erectile dysfunction.

How can it help?

Vitamin D is a hormone that has several important roles in the body. Recent research suggests that vitamin D may also have a connection to erectile function. This is because vitamin D helps the cells in the blood vessels that supply the penis to function properly, which can improve blood flow and support healthy erectile function.

Since avocados are a good source of vitamin D, eating them may be a simple way to increase your intake of this important nutrient. Vitamin D supplementation is also an option, but many people are deficient in vitamin D even with supplementation. Therefore, including vitamin D-rich foods like avocados in your diet may be a sensible way to support overall health, including sexual health.

Conclusion

While eating avocados is a good dietary choice that may help improve erectile dysfunction, it is unlikely to be a standalone solution. Men with ED should also consider other lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and seeking medical advice.

In conclusion

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by both physical and psychological factors, and a healthy diet can help improve and even reverse ED caused by physical issues. 

However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that specific foods can work as a quick fix for ED. Certain foods can help ED by either improving blood flow to the penis or alleviating some psychological factors that cause it. However, using specific foods for ED, is not a part of the treatment protocol sex therapists and doctors use to help men overcome ED. 

It is important to remember that if ED persists, it is always smart to consult a doctor as it could be an early sign of more serious health conditions.

If the cause of ED is psychological, self-therapy techniques such as mindfulness meditation or in-person therapy can be very effective.

If you are experiencing ED, don’t lose hope. Most cases of ED can be treated or significantly improved. With the right treatment, you can overcome ED and regain your confidence.

About Bailey Hanek PsyD

Clinical Psychologist and Certified Sex Therapist

Dr. Bailey Hanek is a clinical psychologist and an AASECT-certified sex therapist. She serves as a professional consultant for Between Us Clinic. Dr. Hanek provides sex therapy and general psychotherapy to adults in her private practice. In addition, she works to increase access to information about relationship and sexual health through her founding role in The Relationship Coaches.