Best vegetables for sexual health

There are certain vegetables that can help your sexual health. Never before has salad sounded so sexy. It is recommended that men eat about 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables a day. Vegetables should make up half of your plate when eating. But what you choose to put on that plate might translate to better health in bed.

Besides helping your heart and your waistline and preventing prostate cancer, a diet rich in certain vegetables can improve your sexual health. In fact, there is a connection between sexual health and heart health, as clogged arteries can cause problems for both. Many vegetables can help with erectile dysfunction (ED) and prostate health. Erectile dysfunction (ED) can affect men from time to time, but it is estimated that between 15 percent and 25 percent of men over 65 have ED on a long-term basis.

Fresh vegetables are filled with phytonutrients and high levels of substances that fight inflammation such as antioxidants, polyphenols and vitamins that help prevent preventing enlarged prostate (BPH), a condition often related to ejaculatory problems and ED. Vegetables rich in nitrates, lycopene, folate are all helpful at helping men with sexual health.

Beets And Nitrates

Red and golden root vegetables are rich in nitrates. The bacteria on your tongue convert those nitrates to nitrites that are converted to nitric oxide in the stomach. Medications that treat ED work by increasing nitric oxide levels, which increase blood flow to the penis by dilating the blood vessels. So perhaps adding beets (one of the best vegetables for sexual health) to your meal can help in the bedroom as well.

Research on beets and beet juice for erectile dysfunction shows that beets influence blood flow, blood pressure and performance in exercise. A British research team did a study on beets and blood pressure. They found that when healthy people drank beet juice, their blood pressure improved for 24 hours. People in the study drank 2 cups of beet juice, and their blood pressure begin to go down one hour after drinking the juice. The peak decline in blood pressure was three to four hours after drinking the beet juice, and that occurred at the same time as peak nitrite blood levels.

In a 2012 randomized study of rowers who drank either a placebo or 500 ml of beet juice for six days, participants did timed indoor rowing machine repetitions. Analysis of the results showed that supplementing nitrites through beetroot juice improved the rowers’ maximal repetitions. The improvements were particularly better in the later stages of doing the exercise.

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A study on patients with peripheral artery disease showed that beet juice helped the patients more than a placebo. Patients who consumed beet juice were able to walk 18 percent farther and 17 percent longer.

While there are no clinical studies on beets and ED, it makes sense that anything that helps increase blood flow and nitric oxide is going to benefit erectile strength. The natural nitrates that you can get from whole foods are safer than supplements. And you get the benefits of phytonutrients found in the foods.

Vegetables high in nitrates include: radishes, beets, turnip tops, carrots, lettuce and celery.

Lycopene For Sexual Health

Lycopene, a red pigment found in tomatoes, watermelon, red carrots and grapefruit, may also help with ED. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is part of the carotenoid family. It is best absorbed through diet and when combined with spinach and oily vegetables such as avocado. In fact, a study at the Madrid Urological Institute has shown that lycopene from tomatoes taken with olive oil may improve ED. The three-month study of 40 men over the age of 50 with mild to moderate ED showed that 20 ml of extra virgin olive oil combined with 8 mg of tomato lycopene helped 50 percent of the participants attain improved erections. Lycopene has also been found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Lycopene is more readily absorbed from processed tomatoes in sauces, pastes and ketchup than from uncooked tomatoes.

Garlic And Onions

Garlic has long been used as an aphrodisiac. It improves blood circulation. (Notice the trend here. Improved blood flow equals better sexual performance.) Eating garlic and onions lowers a man’s risk of enlarged prostate. The selenium in garlic may help prevent prostate cancer as well.

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Vegetables High In Folate

Folate is an amino acid that lowers blood levels of homocysteine, a harmful substance associated with plaque in the arteries. Folate is believed to lower the risk of plaque and possibly lead to better sex via improved genital blood flow.

Vegetables high in folate include spinach (also high in magnesium that helps dilate blood vessels), asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, Swiss chard, bok choy and cabbage.

As you can see, vegetables are crucial for improving many aspects of your health, including better sexual health.

For more great posts on male health, check these out:

Top 3 foods for better male sexual health

8 worst foods for prostate health


Dr. Geo Espinosa

By Dr. Geo Espinosa

Dr. Geo Espinosa is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and certified functional medicine practitioner recognized as an authority in holistic urology and men’s health. He is Clinical Assistant Professor and holistic clinician in Urology at New York University Langone Medical Center. As an avid researcher and writer, Dr. Geo has authored numerous scientific papers and books including co-editing the Integrative Sexual Health book, and author of the best selling prostate cancer book: Thrive, Don't Only Survive.