The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the most heart healthy diets on the planet
and studies have shown that it both helps existing and prevents future erectile
dysfunction.  This diet emphasizes olive oil, nuts, whole grains,
fruits and vegetables, moderate red wine and dairy coupled with limited meat consumption. This combination is just what the doctor
ordered: the well-known Lyon Diet Heart Study showed that after an average follow-up time
of about four years, patients following the Mediterranean-style diet had a
percent lower risk of recurrent heart disease. That's great news for
your heart and great news for your sex life! This was re-verified
Italian researchers who tested the erectile-improving capacities of the Mediterranean
Diet on men with Metabolic Syndrome and found that it significantly improved their
erectile capacity. 
The Mediterranean Diet also has also been shown to dramatically reduce the risk
of dying from cancer and heart disease.  For details,
see my link on How to
Improve Your Mortality and How to Protect Yourself Against Cancer.
NOTE: The poster children for the Mediterranean Diet are the Ikarians,
residents of a Greek Island where one in three residents live to be 90! 
(This is in market contrast with America, with its expensive health care system,
where about 1 in 9 do.) One of their secrets is a Mediterranean Diet, with lots of
grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil. Oh, and AARP reports that
most Ikarians over 90 are probably sexually active - that means 70+ years of
So why does the Mediterranean Diet help so much with your health and sex life? There
are many reasons, but here's just a few to hopefully motivate those of you who have
grown up on the typical western diet:
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1. Nuts. Most nuts counter the ill effects of saturated fat. Saturated fat
tends to cause endothelial inflammation and stiffen the arteries and blood vessels
- which of course is bad for penile blood flow - and nuts counteract this effect.
Walnuts, in particular, have been shown to do this, but all nuts such as walnuts,
almonds, pecans, pistachios, hazel nuts, and peanuts produce favorable results.
 And let's don't forget that nuts also
stimulate the release of an amino acid called arginine, one of the building blocks
of nitric oxide. And nitric oxide, as any veteran of this site knows, is the
building block of erections.
2. Olive Oil. Olive Oil
has many excellent properties. In the same study above on walnuts, researchers found that olive oil had
the same vessel-protecting effects as walnuts, just to a lesser degree. Olive oil is also inversely
related with cognitive decline in a study or two. In other words, the more Olive Oil, the
better your brain functions with advancing age.  But, that said, this
is the one part of Mediterranean Diet that I urge caution on. I document
recent concern How Olive Oil Is
Bad For the Heart.
3. Saturated Fat. The Mediterranean
Diet demphasizes Saturated Fat - a little Saturated Fat is good by the way - and
Saturated Fat has been shown to decrease blood flow and stiffen blood vessels.
That's not what you want downstairs. You want nice, relaxed, comfortable,
happy blood vessels that allow blood into the chambers of your penis - well, that
is if you want an erection. We also know that studies have shown that blood pressure
is correlated to erectile dysfunction. The DASH Diet - just Google for more
information - has been shown to strongly lower blood pressure and the DASH Diet
heavily deemphasizes Saturated Fat (even more than the Mediterranean Diet).
4. Fruits and Vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables have also been shown to reduce coronary heart disease by 20%
in one study and remember that the heart and the penis are one. 
5. Red Wine. Moderate drinking,
1-2 drinks/day, is associated with elevated good cholesterol (HDL) and decreased
heart disease. Remember that HDL is a potent stimulator of Nitric Oxide.
It also is associated with greatly reduced risk of Alzheimer's Disease in the
well-known longitudinal study called PAQUID. 
For moderate drinkers, 1-2 glasses/day, the risk of dementia/Alzheimer's was
reduced by about half.
On top of these
benefits to both your erectile and cardiac strength, a Mediterranean Diet has also passed the
most rigorous of all tests: mortality studies. The results of these studies
have shown that the Mediterranean Diet improves overall mortality,
that it is good for both your heart and multiple cancers,
In the following link
I also show that the Mediterranean Diet is pro-testosterone, pro-heart and anti-cancer.
(By the way, the Mediterranean Diet is also good for the brain. See this
link for more details.)
Another reason that the Mediterranean Diet probably help with erectile
dysfunction is that a recent study  found to improve
Metabolic Syndrome .
Metabolic Syndrome is a set of conditions (high blood pressure, insulin
resistance, poor lipids, etc.) that plague Western societies. There are
several interesting things about this study. First of all, the
participants were seniors, all of whom were at risk for heart disease including
about two thirds who already had developed
Metabolic Syndrome . The study found
that the Metabolic Syndrome was actually reversed for 14% of the participants.
(NOTE: Nuts were also a part of the most succesful cohort in this study.)
And that's not all: the Mediterranean Diet has also been shown to
prevent Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.  Furthermore, the greater the
adherence to the Mediterranean Diet, the less the risk of Alzheimer's. Those with the greatest adherence to the Mediterranean
Diet had a 40% less risk than those with the least. For more information on
the Mediterranean Diet, see this link. A previous study
found a similar link.  So it's not just the heart and penis that desperately
need you to follow the Mediterranean Diet: it's the brain itself.
For those of you who are
Mediterranean Diet aficionados, you'll be glad to know
that a recent meta-analysis found that most studies showed a decreased risk for
becoming obese for those who followed a Mediterranean Diet.  Again, the
Mediterranean Diet is relatively high fat (~30%), making it easier to put on
weight. However, it does convey a low glycemic load, which may contribute to its
ability to keep off weight gain. And one could also speculate that perhaps
because it is fulfilling and satisfying, it leaves its practioners eating
What is the Mediterranean Diet? Well, one of the mortality studies defined
it as "characterised by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and cereals
(in the past largely unrefined); a moderate to high intake of fish; a low intake
of saturated lipids but high intake of unsaturated lipids, particularly olive oil;
a low to moderate intake of dairy products, mostly cheese and yogurt; a low intake
of meat; and a modest intake of ethanol, mostly as wine." The other mortality
studies have a similar definition.
CAUTIONS: Be careful about too much fish: you can get too much
mercury and other heavy metals rather easily. Fish Oil, preserved with
mixed tocopherols, is probably the safest alternative. Alcohol
deserves mostly praise, but a certain amount of caution as well.
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12) AARP, Sep/Oct 2009, p. 21
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