By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA
Mediterranean Diet is a healthful diet for men with and without metabolic syndrome, and with or without sexual dysfunction.
The Mediterranean diet has been in the headlines recently because a new study shows that the diet is beneficial to help avoid strokes.
Recognized for its ability to help improve heart health, the Mediterranean Diet also can help kick-start a flagging libido in men with metabolic syndrome.
I asked John La Puma, MD (ChefMD) to suggest some foods that can help set the stage for a happier, healthier love life.
In fact, to help stimulate sexual health, Dr. La Puma is a fan of foods commonly associated with the Mediterranean diet…in fact, the whole Mediterranean Diet.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The common Mediterranean dietary pattern consists of five characteristics: [source: American Heart Association]
- A high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
- Olive oil as a key source of monounsaturated fat (monounsaturated fat doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels the way saturated fat does)
- Dairy products, fish and poultry in low to moderate amounts; little red meat is eaten
- Eggs consumed zero to four times a week
- Wine in low to moderate amounts
While studies show that the Mediterranean Diet can help overcome erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence in men with metabolic syndrome, the Mediterranean Diet is a healthful diet for men with and without metabolic syndrome, and with or without sexual dysfunction.
What is metabolic syndrome?
According to the CDC, about 34% of U.S. men have metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that put you at risk for heart disease and diabetes. These conditions according to the National Institutes of Health are:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar levels
- High levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood
- Low levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, in your blood
- Too much fat around your waist
What does the Mediterranean diet do for sex?
For men with metabolic syndrome, about one-third of all U.S. men, the diet helps to overcome erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence.
In fact, studies show that one-third of these men with ED cure their problem after following a Mediterranean-style diet, combined with exercise, for two years. Over 100 million men have ED worldwide.
No one knows with certainty how the Mediterranean Diet works, says Dr. La Puma, but because it reduces whole body inflammation and CRP (C-reactive protein) measurements, and improves endothelial (arterial lining) function, researchers think the Diet improves blood flow.
Belly fat, a big part of the metabolic syndrome, lowers testosterone levels. Losing that fat might improve androgen levels and improve the elasticity of blood vessels. By choosing foods on the Mediterranean Diet, it’s possible to have better erections. “Less inflammation, better flow, better hormone levels, better erections,” says Dr. La Puma.
What is it about Mediterranean diet foods that make them so powerful?
Beans, legumes and seeds, especially kidney beans, peanuts and sunflower seeds are rich in arginine. This amino acid allows blood vessels to dilate (widen) and increase blood flow to the sexual organs.
You might also consider eating walnuts to help enhance sexual performance (not drive), especially after consuming a fatty meal. Walnuts can protect the arteries from constricting and responding abnormally to exercise and exertion. “Dosage: Take 8 walnuts with your meal, 4 hours before sex, ” says Dr. La Puma.
To spice up your love life,
ChefMD recommends the following Mediterranean Diet recipe:
Spaghetti Frittata with Toasty Walnuts and Cheese
We’d love to hear from you. Do you follow a Mediterranean Diet? What are your favorite foods? What are your favorite recipes?
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