A Plant-based diet will help enhance sexual function and endurance
Plant-based diets provide an opportunity to optimize sexual function and endurance.
There are three distinct areas of improvement:
Men’s health addressing Erective Dysfunction (ED)
Men’s health addressing premature ejaculation
Diminished libido for both men and women
Men’s Health: Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED, may be the first clues of unhealthy arteries both above and below the waist. These threaten the quality and quantity of life, so addressing it head-on is beneficial to sexual and non-sexual activities. ED can manifest as low interest in sex, difficulty or inability achieving an erection, or difficulty or inability maintaining an erection. Blood vessel problems are the most common cause of ED, but the condition can also stem from muscular, hormonal, psychological, and/or nervous system-related issues.
Erectile dysfunction is often associated with liver congestion, as the liver is responsible for detoxifying the body through the blood. Liver congestion causes slower blood flow. Slower blood flow leaves inadequate blood supply to the male genitalia, thereby diminishing erections.
Liver congestion is often relieved with a whole-food, plant-based diet. Plant-based foods are the easiest for the human gut to digest, thereby relieving pressure in the liver. Conversely, animal-based foods cause further strain to the liver. Most meats contain hormones and antibiotics, as they are commonly given to animals to help them grow. Milk contains natural growth hormones to help calves grow, but cannot be processed by humans. Processing animal-based foods therefore takes more energy from the liver, causing more congestion. This then impacts blood flow to the genitalia.
Physical and psychological problems can interact to cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Difficulty achieving an erection due to a minor physical issue can cause anxiety, and that anxiety can then cause further difficulty. Also, depression, stress, and relationship issues all can result in ED.
Some of the physical causes of ED include:
Hardening of blood vessels to the pelvic arteries (atherosclerosis)
A variety of heart diseases often due to atherosclerosis
High blood pressure
Spinal cord injury
Poor dental health
Prescription drug effects
The inner lining of every artery, including arteries to the pelvis, is a single layer of cells called the endothelium. When the lining is healthy, it produces nitric oxide (NO) gas which resists the plaque, clotting, or constriction of arteries. A healthy endothelium leads to sustained erections and good heart artery flow.
Lifestyle factors are known to harm the endothelium and its production of nitric oxide, leading to ED. The standard American diet, which is high in processed foods packed with chemicals, fat, sugar, and salt, is a significant factor to ED. Other factors leading to ED include a sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise), poorly managed stress levels, environmental toxins (such as BPA), and poor sleep.
ED can be directly addressed with a whole-food, plant based diet. Plant foods are low in saturated fats and rich in minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients, and promote arterial health and erectile success. The flavonoids in fruits, vegetables, herbs, and teas work to prevent ED. (Study)
Adding a regular exercise routine to a whole-food, plant-based diet will improve success rates. The greater the commitment to exercise, the lower the risk of ED. (Study)
Men’s Health: Premature Ejaculation
Premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when a man ejaculates sooner during sexual intercourse than he or his partner would like. The main symptom of premature ejaculation is the inability to delay ejaculation for more than one minute after penetration, often in all sexual situations, even during masturbation. Premature ejaculation is a common sexual complaint.
Premature ejaculation involves a complex interaction of physical and psychological factors:
Physical factors that might play a role include:
Erectile dysfunction (ED)
Abnormal hormone levels
Abnormal levels of brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters
Inflammation and infection of the prostate or urethra
Early sexual experiences
Poor body image
Anxiety or depression
Worrying about premature ejaculation
Guilty feelings that increase your tendency to rush through sexual encounters
By following a whole-food, plant-based diet, many of the physical factors can be addressed directly. Hormone levels return quickly to normal ranges with a plant-based diet, as the hormones found in animal tissue are not consumed, and the liver is not congested trying to process them.
Following a plant-based diet often helps with losing weight, which can help alleviate many bodily woes, from high blood pressure to insomnia. Obesity has been linked to an increase in estrogen in men, which can cause PE.
A whole-food, plant-based diet, with less sugar and lots of healthy fats, will help address PE by:
Making your heart healthier
Improving prostate health
The psychological factors can be significant and likely require direct attention.
Diminished libido for men and women
A key factor to men’s and women’s libido is testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).
Total testosterone is found to be higher in individuals on a plant-based diet and the amount of free testosterone was equal between plant-based and meat eating groups. (Source)
Since free testosterone is the same between plant-based and meat eating groups, the ability to build muscle should be similar if the intake of essential amino acids, macronutrients, and calories are comparable. (Source) Of course, plant-based meals typically contain more essential amino acids and macronutrients.
Similarly, SHBG have been shown to be at similar levels for people on plant-based diets and omnivores. (Source)
An important element is how testosterone is metabolized in the body. Minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium play a key role. If one is deficient in any of these minerals, then it can affect one’s sex drive. If one is suffering from a decreased libido, it is worth getting tested for these minerals.
There are some specific foods that are known to boost testosterone levels.
Cholesterol is a derivative of testosterone so it’s important to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Getting healthy fats in your diet keeps testosterone production functioning properly. Some examples are olive oil or coconut oil for cooking and snacking on walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds to provide omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc.
Avocados are super beneficial because they help to reduce LDL (aka "bad cholesterol") levels and increase HDL levels (the "good cholesterol"), which is what you want to keep high for good testosterone production.
Dark chocolate is a libido enhancer because it’s high in zinc and magnesium, and also delicious.
Overall, plant-based foods have high levels of zinc and vitamin B, which can increase libido. Some specific examples include bananas, chickpeas and avocados. Being plant-based can also increase serotonin levels, which can both boost sex drive and increase happiness. Serotonin levels are linked with oxytocin levels, the “love hormone” that creates stronger feelings of intimacy and affection.
The health benefits of eating plant-based include: