Please discuss everything with your doctor first. | Research-Backed Erectile SupplementsGreat Diet Smackdown (Part II): The Ornish Diet versus Mediterranean Diet
We saw in our first Smackdown that the Mediterranean Diet handily beat the Paleolithic diet. So is there diet out there that can beat the Mediterranean? Or is it the undisputed King of the Kitchen?
Well, there is a noble contender: the Ornish Diet. The Ornish Diet was born out of several studies  done by now-famous researcher, Dr. Dean Ornish. Ornish did the unthinkable and actually partially reversed heart disease. Yes, you read that right: he actually decreased arteriosclerosis and under rigorous study conditions while he was at it! (The only other regimen that I know of that can partially reverse arteriosclerosis is Pomegranate Juice.) On average their arteries opened up by 10% during the study period. That may not sound like a lot, but it allows for much more than 10% increased blood flow. As a side note, the control group had a 30% buildup of arterial plaque - a disaster waiting to happen. Results were also nothing short of phenomenol in turns of cardiac events as well.
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The significance of this, especially for males at middle age and beyond, is staggering: cardiovascular issues are at the root of most of our core problems. Decreased blood flow to the brain underlies some of our loss in learning and cognitive abilities as we age and it definitely is an issue in erectile dysfunction. The Ornish Diet has not been studied, as far as I know, with regards to erectile performance, but anecdotally, the results look fantastic. Many guys have reported almost overnight success with Ornish's Diet with restoring erectile function or something close to it. (The Ornish Diet also appears to stop Prostate Cancer dead in its tracks. For more information, read my link on Prostate Cancer.)
So what is the Ornish Diet? The fascinating thing is that it is surprisingly simple: eat as if you were dirt poor. In fact, some have coined diets such as this the "Poverty Diet".
Ornish's rules were relatively simple:
1) Eat only a vegan diet with two exceptions: some egg whites and a small portion of non-fat dairy are allowed.
2) Keep fat intake to less than 10% of your total diet. Thus, for a male that eats 2,500 calories, this would be 28 g or less.
3) Protein should be limited to less than 15-20% of calories per day. For a male eating 2,500 calories, this would be about 94-125 g of protein.
4) Avoid all refined carbohydrates and sugars which, practically speaking, means almost all of your calories will come from whole grains.
5) Avoid salt and caffeine and limit alcohol to less than 2 oz. per day.
NOTE: You should also read about How Incredibly Healthy Grains Are For Your Penis.
What is interesting is that the study participants were only required to exercise 30 minutes per day, which is really not that long. So it is remarkable that this program could reverse heart disease without a lot of gym time. Ornish also insisted that participants engage in various stress management techniques as well.
You may be wondering about fish: Ornish does not allow fish, nuts or meat of any kind. He is on record, however, recommending that people take fish oil supplements.
So what will the Ornish Diet do to your testosterone? Well, it will undoubtedly lower it. As you know if you've hacked around this site at all, Low Fat and High Fiber lead to decreased testosterone levels. Is that a concern? Probably not to your sex life: erectile dysfunction is generally much more of a Nitric Oxide issue than a testosterone issue. Most guys, for example, can get relief for their erectile dysfunction by taking Cialis, Viagra or Levitra even if their testosterone is on the lowish side. The other way around is not as often the case. The bottom line is that our primary erectile problems have almost always to do with getting our endothelium and arteries and Nitric Oxide levels back in shape. And the Ornish Diet appears to be; the King of the Mountain in this category.
However, it would definitely be prudent for all Ornishites to monitor their testosterone. As I point out, low levels of testosterone are associated with a host of ugly long term health issues. So does that mean if the Ornish Diet lowers your testosterone unacceptably low that you should give up on it. Well, not necessarily: the modern, middle-aged male has, of course, the option of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as well. As I have pointed out, middle aged and beyond guys are left to the ravages of daily life with its varying levels of stress, sleeplessness and so on. Of course, one should always deal with the root cause, but HRT helps you relax and realize that one night of poor sleep or if you overtrain a little too much that you're not going to wipe out your testosterone over the next two days!
So, in summary, I would definitely recommend the Ornish Diet if you have Metabolic Syndrome, poor lipid profiles, high blood pressure or erectile dysfunction: Of course, but with any of these problems you need to not just prevent further problems: you need to actually heal your body.
By the way, you will find some other nice advantages of the Ornish Diet: it will lean you out. I went on a low fat diet, which of course means more carbs, and within just a few weeks I found that I had put on two pounds. What was shocking though is that the line down the center of my abs had begun to form - something that hasn't happened since college. I was actually getting an ab six pack and simultaneously putting on muscle!
Of course, you're not going to put on muscle as fast as if you are loading up on animal protein. But who cares? The six pack that I have is much more attractive to females anyway. And my arteries will actually be melting off plaque. You'll find that the Ornish will push your body back toward the way you looked in your teens: lean, muscular and fit. And guess what? That's what women like anyway!
Finally, an Ornish Diet can be a way to save money. Beans, legumes, rice, oatmeal, egg whites - these are dirt cheap and it can save you big bucks over buying even chicken, pork and beef. There simply is no comparison in price.
1) Ornish D., et al. Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. December 16, 1998. 280(23):2001-2007