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What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, formerly known as impotence, affects an estimated 18 million men in the United States alone. However, while it is no picnic, it is not as horrible nor as permanent as it sounds or as is generally believed to be. All the terror and the shame usually associated with this problem is only so because the condition is most often completely misunderstood. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5% of 40-year-old menand between 15% and 25% of 65-year-old men experience ED on a long-term basis.
Nutrients that help ED
1. The Zinc in Your Diet Most likely youve heard concerns about protein intake bio-available calcium and heme vs. non-heme iron, but zinc is a mineral that seldom ever comes up, even though according to the National Institute of Health "Zinc is needed for the bodys defensive (immune) system to properly work. It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Zinc is also needed for the senses of smell and taste" Deficiency symptoms include hair loss, slow growth, poor healing rate, and depression And whats more while we can get nearly every nutrient on a vegetarian diet as easily as or more easily than the Standard American Diet, zinc is actually a little more problematic, and as the Vegetarian Society explains, "Only 20% of the zinc present in the diet is actually absorbed by the body" due to the presence of phytic acid, which is somewhat destroyed by cooking, a process raw foodists try to avoid. Good sources of zinc usually include liver, oysters, and other foods no vegetarian would want to include in their diet! But even while eschewing meat and animal products, we can get enough zinc. Rich plant based sources of zinc include sesame seeds (14%/oz), shiitake mushrooms (14%/oz), pumpkin seeds (14%/oz and a great source of amino acids). hemp seeds (20%/oz, a source of complete protein), tahini from whole, unroasted sesame seeds (20%/oz), cashew nuts and pine nuts (11%/oz), cacao powder (~15%/oz), avocado (10% per avocado) etc. Raw, organic seeds in general are a very good source of nutrition, and are a valuable addition to any diet.
In Oysters and Other Shellfish The oyster has always had an aphrodisiac reputation. One reason may be that oysters have high levels of the mineral zinc, which plays an important role in the production of the male hormone testosterone, and low levels of testosterone could be one reason for erectile dysfunction. Research presented at an American Chemical Society meeting may offer another connection: Raw shellfish contain compounds that stimulate the release of sexual hormones in both men and women.
2. The Nitrates in Leafy Greens and Beets Leafy green vegetables, like celery and spinach, may increase circulation because of their high concentration of nitrates. Beet juice has been found to be really high in nitrates. Nitrates are vasodilators, and as such, they open up blood vessels and increase blood flow. Many years before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first ED drug in 1998, several case reports on the beneficial effects of nitrates for erectile dysfunction had already been published. The ED drugs used today are based on the relaxing effects of nitrates on the blood vessels that supply the penis.
3. The Flavonoids in Dark Chocolate A recent study in the journal Circulation found that flavonoids in dark chocolate improve circulation. That could be good for erection problems that are due to poor circulation. Flavonoids are naturally- occurring antioxidants that protect plants from toxins and help repair cell damage. Studies show that flavonoids and other antioxidants have similar effects on people. They help lower blood pressure and decrease cholesterol, both of which are factors that contribute to erectile dysfunction.
4. The Protein in Pistachios A recent study found that men with erectile dysfunction who ate pistachio nuts every day for three weeks experienced significant improvement in sexual issues, including ED, sexual desire, and overall sexual satisfaction. The benefits of pistachios for erection problems may be due to a protein called arginine, which may help relax blood vessels. "This is another example of how good circulation is good for sexual health, which is good news because I eat a lot of pistachios," says Dr. Daneshgari.
5. The Antioxidants in Watermelons Some studies show that watermelon may have effects on erectile dysfunction that are similar to the ED drug Viagra and may also increase sexual desire. Watermelon is rich in beneficial ingredients known as phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are also antioxidants. One of their benefits is that they relax the blood vessels that supply an erection. Although watermelon is 92 percent water, the other 8 percent may work wonders for your heart and your sexual enjoyment.
6. The Lycopene in Tomatoes and Pink Grapefruit Lycopene is one of those phytonutrients that is good for circulation and good for sexual issues. Lycopene is found in deep red fruits like tomatoes and pink grapefruits. Some studies show that lycopene may be absorbed best when mixed with oily foods like avocados and olive oil. So you might want to make yourself an ED-fighting salad. Research also shows that antioxidants like lycopene help fight male infertility and prostate cancer.
7. The Vitamin B3 [Niacin] in Beets, Tuna, and Salmon Everyone needs a certain amount of vitamin B3 - from food or supplements - for the body to function normally. Having enough niacin, or vitamin B3, in the body is important for general good health. As a treatment, higher amounts of niacin can improve cholesterol levels and lower cardiovascular risks. Niacin occurs naturally in many foods, including greens, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, though in a fraction of the dose shown to achieve changes in cholesterol. Many products are also fortified with niacin
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