Best Foods to Improve Sexual Function

Best Foods to Improve Sexual Function
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Selecting foods to improve pelvic blood flow and decrease inflammation both immediately after a meal and for the long term may improve sexual functioning in men and women.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

What are some “[p]ill-free ways to improve your sex life”? “Exercise,…quit smoking,” don’t drink too much, don’t weigh too much, and “[e]at a healthy diet.” But, what does that mean? “[H]eart-healthy lifestyle changes” are sex-healthy lifestyle changes—as has been demonstrated in studies from around the world, including in women. “Sexual function in women is [also] significantly affected by [coronary artery disease],” atherosclerotic narrowing of blood flow through our arteries, including the arteries that supply our pelvis. So, high cholesterol may mean “lower arousal, orgasm, lubrication, and satisfaction,” and the same with high blood pressure.

So, putting women on a more plant-based diet may help with sexual functioning. Researchers found that improvements in Female Sexual Function Index scores were related to “an increased…intake of fruit, vegetables, nuts and [beans],” and a shift from animal to plant sources of fat. And, the same with men: a significant improvement in international Index of Erectile Function scores.

In fact, the largest study on diet and erectile dysfunction found that “each additional daily serving of fruit[s or] vegetable[s]” may reduce the risk by 10%. But, why? It may be due to the anti-inflammatory effects. Two years on a healthier diet resulted in “a significant reduction [in] systemic inflammation, as indicated by…reduced levels of C[-reactive protein].” Fiber itself may play an “anti-inflammatory role…” Those who eat the most fiber tend to have significantly lower levels of inflammation in their bodies. The opposite was found for saturated fat, associated with an “increased likelihood of elevated C[-reactive protein]” levels.

This is how we’re used to seeing changes in inflammatory markers—over weeks, months, or years. But, people don’t realize that the level of inflammation in our bodies can change after a single meal. For example, there’s a pro-inflammatory signaling molecule in our bodies called interleukin-18, thought to play a role in destabilizing atherosclerotic plaques. As such, the level of “Interleukin-18 [in the blood] is a Strong Predictor of Cardiovascular Death…”

What would happen if you fed people one of three different types of meals: sausage and egg-butter-olive oil sandwiches, or cheese-less pizza with a white flour crust, or the same cheese-less pizza, but with a whole wheat crust? Within hours of eating the sausage sandwich, interleukin-18 levels shot up about 20%—an effect not seen eating the plant-based pizza. And, those eating the whole food, plant-based pizza had about a 20% drop in IL-18 levels within hours—reinforcing dietary recommendations to eat a diet “high in fiber and [starches], and low in saturated fat, to prevent chronic diseases.”

But, the billions are in pills, not plants, which is why “[t]he pharmacology of the…female orgasm” has been studied ever since 1972, when a researcher at Tulane University implanted tubes deep within the brain of a woman, so he could inject drugs directly into her brain, and was able to induce “repetitive orgasms.” A man who had electrodes placed into similar parts of his brain was given a device for a few hours that allowed him to press the button himself to stimulate the electrode. He pressed the button up to “1,500 times.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

What are some “[p]ill-free ways to improve your sex life”? “Exercise,…quit smoking,” don’t drink too much, don’t weigh too much, and “[e]at a healthy diet.” But, what does that mean? “[H]eart-healthy lifestyle changes” are sex-healthy lifestyle changes—as has been demonstrated in studies from around the world, including in women. “Sexual function in women is [also] significantly affected by [coronary artery disease],” atherosclerotic narrowing of blood flow through our arteries, including the arteries that supply our pelvis. So, high cholesterol may mean “lower arousal, orgasm, lubrication, and satisfaction,” and the same with high blood pressure.

So, putting women on a more plant-based diet may help with sexual functioning. Researchers found that improvements in Female Sexual Function Index scores were related to “an increased…intake of fruit, vegetables, nuts and [beans],” and a shift from animal to plant sources of fat. And, the same with men: a significant improvement in international Index of Erectile Function scores.

In fact, the largest study on diet and erectile dysfunction found that “each additional daily serving of fruit[s or] vegetable[s]” may reduce the risk by 10%. But, why? It may be due to the anti-inflammatory effects. Two years on a healthier diet resulted in “a significant reduction [in] systemic inflammation, as indicated by…reduced levels of C[-reactive protein].” Fiber itself may play an “anti-inflammatory role…” Those who eat the most fiber tend to have significantly lower levels of inflammation in their bodies. The opposite was found for saturated fat, associated with an “increased likelihood of elevated C[-reactive protein]” levels.

This is how we’re used to seeing changes in inflammatory markers—over weeks, months, or years. But, people don’t realize that the level of inflammation in our bodies can change after a single meal. For example, there’s a pro-inflammatory signaling molecule in our bodies called interleukin-18, thought to play a role in destabilizing atherosclerotic plaques. As such, the level of “Interleukin-18 [in the blood] is a Strong Predictor of Cardiovascular Death…”

What would happen if you fed people one of three different types of meals: sausage and egg-butter-olive oil sandwiches, or cheese-less pizza with a white flour crust, or the same cheese-less pizza, but with a whole wheat crust? Within hours of eating the sausage sandwich, interleukin-18 levels shot up about 20%—an effect not seen eating the plant-based pizza. And, those eating the whole food, plant-based pizza had about a 20% drop in IL-18 levels within hours—reinforcing dietary recommendations to eat a diet “high in fiber and [starches], and low in saturated fat, to prevent chronic diseases.”

But, the billions are in pills, not plants, which is why “[t]he pharmacology of the…female orgasm” has been studied ever since 1972, when a researcher at Tulane University implanted tubes deep within the brain of a woman, so he could inject drugs directly into her brain, and was able to induce “repetitive orgasms.” A man who had electrodes placed into similar parts of his brain was given a device for a few hours that allowed him to press the button himself to stimulate the electrode. He pressed the button up to “1,500 times.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

I previously touched on this topic in Survival of the Firmest: Erectile Dysfunction and Death and 50 Shades of Greens.

Might better sexual function lead to better health? It hasn’t been studied yet in women, but I reviewed the available evidence for men in my video Do Men Who Have More Sex Live Longer?.

My more recent videos on the subject include Viagra and Cancer, Saffron for Erectile Dysfunction, and Are Apples the Best Food for a Better Sex Life in Women?.

What effect might that inflammation directly following an unhealthy meal have on our artery function? Check out my three-part endotoxins series starting with The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause Inflammation.

And why exactly is fiber anti-inflammatory? Watch my video Prebiotics: Tending Our Inner Garden.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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