Erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to a sexual problem in which men have the inability to maintain an erection while having sex. Erectile dysfunction is a common medical disorder. Some of the factors responsible for erectile dysfunction include smoking, lack of physical activity, wrong diets, overweight or obesity, metabolic syndrome, and excessive alcohol consumption. Lifestyle and nutrition have been recognized as central
factors influencing both vascular NO production, testosterone levels, and erectile function. Moreover, it has also been suggested that lifestyle habits that decrease low-grade clinical inflammation may have a role in the improvement of erectile function. In clinical trials, lifestyle modifications were effective in ameliorating ED or restoring absent ED in people with obesity or metabolic syndrome. There is no doubt then that healthy
lifestyles would yield great benefits in reducing the burden of sexual dysfunction.
Studies have shown that moderate and high physical activities were associated with a lower risk of ED. Physical activity has a beneficial effect on the prevention and/or improvements of ED. The
mechanisms by which physical activity ameliorates ED include improved cardiovascular fitness and endothelial dysfunction, a decrease in oxidative stress among other factors. Moreover, physical exercise showed beneficial effects on self-esteem and mental health, with a positive impact on psychological issues associated with sexual dysfunction.
Overweight, obesity and metabolic syndrome are associated with an increased risk of ED. It has been found that overweight or obese men had an increased probability (70%–96% higher) of developing ED compared with normal weight men. Also, body weight loss, obtained either by lifestyle or bariatric intervention, is associated with a decline in estrogen levels and a rise in gonadotropins and testosterone, which is greater in those who lose more body weight.
Dietary patterns with high content of whole grain foods and legumes and vegetables and fruits, and that limit red meat, full-fat dairy products, and food and beverages high in added sugars are associated with a reduced risk of ED. The greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet, in particular, has been associated with a lower prevalence of ED in both diabetic and nondiabetic men.
Both the direct use of tobacco and second-hand exposure ups the risk for ED. Saying no to smoking can significantly improve your sexual health.
Low or moderate consumption of alcohol may exert a protective effect on ED in both the general population and in diabetic men. The keywords are low or moderate.