man and woman grocery shopping
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Can Food Affect Your Penis?

We know pills, pumps, and surgeries work for erectile dysfunction, but what about food? Are there things you can eat that can help with ED? It seems there may be.

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mature man eating watermelon
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Watermelon

This sweet, refreshing fruit has a compound that can have effects similar to ED meds on your blood vessels. It may even rev up your sex drive, studies say. Most of watermelon is water, but the rest is loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that’s good for your heart, prostate, and skin.

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fresh oysters on the half shell
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Oysters

These shellfish may boost your testosterone levels, and that can help with sex drive. They're also chock-full of zinc, a nutrient your body needs. But you may save yourself problems by making sure they’re cooked. Make sure you know where they come from, and that they’re cooked properly.

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man bringing woman coffee on porch
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Coffee

Your morning cup of joe is more than a satisfying pick-me-up. It may give your love life a boost, too. Men who drank two or three cups' worth of caffeine a day were less likely to have erectile dysfunction, one study found. That’s because caffeine helps boost blood flow. Not a java fan? Many teas, sodas, and sports drinks also have caffeine.

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dark chocolate squares
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Dark Chocolate

This treat may have perks below the belt. An ounce a few times a week can help your ticker -- and what’s good for your heart could be good for other parts, too. Chocolate is rich in flavanols, plant nutrients that can increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. It also helps your body make more of nitric oxide, which can help with erections and is in many ED medications.

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walnuts
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Nuts

Walnuts have lots of arginine, an amino acid your body uses to make nitric oxide. They’re also good sources of vitamin E, folic acid and fiber. Don’t add more than a few small handfuls to your daily diet, though. Nuts are high in calories.

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grape juice
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Juice

Maybe you enjoy an adult beverage made from grapes, but here’s a reason to drink the stuff kids like. Nutrients in Concord grape juice also increase the amount of nitric oxide in your body. If you’re not wild about drinking grape juice, try pomegranate juice. It appears to have the same effect.

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garlic
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Garlic

The strong-smelling bulb may help between the sheets. If plaque forms on the walls of the arteries, blood flow could be cut off or reduced. That could cause a problem when it comes to romance. Garlic in your diet may help keep your arteries healthy and clear as you age.

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baked salmon
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Fish

Salmon and other fatty fish are great sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may boost nitric oxide in your body. They’ll lower your blood pressure and your risks for heart attack and blood clots. Aim for 8 ounces of salmon a week. Sardines, fresh albacore tuna, and mackerel are other good sources of omega-3s.

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colander with kale
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Greens

Kale is also a nitric-oxide booster. Aside from the possible benefits to your sex life, leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and omega-3s.

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hot red peppers
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Peppers

You might spice up your love life by adding some chili peppers to your diet. The stuff in cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros, and other peppers that give them their heat relaxes the arteries -- and that helps blood flow to the heart and other organs, including the penis. Chilies can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent blood clots.

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extra virgin olive oil
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Olive Oil

Olive oil may help your body make more testosterone. It's also full of the good-for-you monounsaturated fat, which can help get rid of the bad cholesterol in your body. Opt for extra-virgin olive oil -- that means the olives were pressed without chemicals or high heat, which preserves the healthy antioxidants.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 07/22/2015 Reviewed by Stuart Bergman, MD on July 22, 2015

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SOURCES:

American Chemical Society: “Hot Pepper Compound Could Help Hearts.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Heart Health Benefits of Chocolate.”

Derouiche, A. Natural Product Communications, January,2013

Doumanian, Leo MD, associate professor of clinical urology at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Eatright.org: “Feed Your Body Right,” “Top Foods for a Healthy Heart.”

Fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org: “About The Buzz: Concord Grapes for Healthy Circulation,” “About The Buzz: Green Leafy Veggies Promote Healthy Blood,”  “Go Bananas,” “What are Phytochemicals?”

Harvard Health Publications: “Key Minerals to Help Control Blood Pressure,” “Lycopene-Rich Tomatoes Linked to Lower Stroke Risk.”

Harvard T. H. Chan School for Public Health, The Nutrition Source: “Nuts for the Heart.”

Medline Plus: “Garlic.”

Megan Wroe, MS, RD, Fullerton, Calif.

Merck Manual: “Atherosclerosis,” “Erectile Dysfunction.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine: “Garlic.”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Erectile Dysfunction.”

National Institutes of Health: “Zinc.”

Netter, A. Archives of Andrology, August, 1981.

Oregon State University Extension: “Go Green. Growing and Enjoying Leafy Greens.”

Reviewed by Stuart Bergman, MD on July 22, 2015

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.