Worst foods for erectile dysfunction

It’s no brainer that you need to eat healthily in order to stay healthy. Consuming certain foods can affect sexual health, contributing to or worsening conditions like erectile dysfunction.  

High-calorie food

Key takeaways:

  • Foods such as refined carbs, processed meats, and alcohol are not great food choices for sexual health as they may contribute to or worsen conditions like erectile dysfunction. 
  • People with erectile dysfunction are unable to get or sustain erections strong enough to have sexual intercourse. 
  • While doctors prescribe medications and other treatment methods like therapy for erectile dysfunction, making healthier food choices can help improve erection.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the consistent inability to attain or maintain a firm erection long enough to perform sexual intercourse. It is a condition that can put a strain on marriages and relationships, as it can make a person develop a lack of confidence when it comes to sexual activities. 

Achieving an erection depends largely on a person’s nervous, cardiovascular, metabolic, hormonal, and physiological well-being. And the type of food you eat can promote or wreak havoc on any of these systems, resulting in or worsening erectile dysfunction.

Some foods that may worsen erectile dysfunction include:

1. Fried food

Fried foods such as fried chicken, French fries, doughnuts, and fried plantains are delicious, but they are not very healthy. Studies have shown regular consumption of fried foods can increase the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Fried foods, especially those fried in animal fat, are high in saturated and trans fats, and eating them regularly can promote the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This can obstruct the flow of blood to different parts of the body, including the penis, and worsen erectile dysfunction. 

Also, fried foods are inflammatory, high in calories, and can increase the risk of obesity, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure, all of which are linked to erectile dysfunction.[8]

2. Red meat and processed meat

Red meat and most processed meats, such as sausages and hot dogs, have high levels of saturated fat, which are not healthy fats. They are considered some of the worst foods for ED.

Eating excessive red and processed meat can increase your blood cholesterol, increasing the risk of developing heart disease. High cholesterol and poor heart health can worsen erectile dysfunction, as both can impair the heart’s ability to pump sufficient blood to the penis.

3. Refined carbs

Erectile dysfunction may get worse if you always eat refined grains, such as white rice, or their products such as white bread, cereals, and pasta. Aside from the fact that refined carbs are stripped of most of their nutrients and fiber, they have a high glycemic index.

Foods with high glycemic index are those that can easily spike your blood sugar level and increase your risk of obesity. 

They can quickly increase your blood sugar level, as they are easily digested. With time, this can damage your nerves and blood vessels. This can disrupt the transmission of nerve signals to the penis and can affect blood flow.

4. Cheese and butter

Dairy products, such as cheese and butter, are usually high in saturated fats. They can clog the arteries and obstruct the flow of blood to the penis. Since erection depends on blood flow, consuming these dairy products frequently can make erectile dysfunction worse.

5. Artificially flavored and sweetened drinks

Studies have revealed that the regular consumption of soft, carbonated drinks can gradually cause erectile dysfunction. These drinks are loaded with lots of simple sugar and are high in calories. They are one of the leading causes of increases in blood sugar levels, weight gain, and diabetes.

6. Alcohols

Taking one or two glasses of wine occasionally during dinner is not bad. It may even boost your self-confidence and sexual desire. On the other hand, excessive alcohol intake can contribute to ED and hamper your sex life.

Alcohol can affect the different parts of your body involved in achieving an erection: the brain, nerves, hormones, and blood circulation. It can make it difficult to get and maintain an erection. It has a sedating effect on the body and brain, which can interfere with the signal sent from the brain to the penis and sexual stimulation. 

Excess alcohol can cause dehydration, reducing blood volume and blood flow, which may lead to erectile problems. Alcohol can damage the nerves and blood vessels, increase the risk of high blood pressure, and cause weight gain.

Daily intake of too much alcohol can lower your testosterone level, resulting in lower sex drive, shrinking of the sex organs, and infertility, all of which are associated with ED.

7. Cakes and pastries

Cakes and pastries are another group of unhealthy foods that may worsen erectile dysfunction. They are not only made of refined carbohydrate, which is highly refined wheat flour, but they also contain lots of fat and sugar. They contain little or no nutrients. They are high in cholesterol, calories, and glycemic index. 

8. Ice cream

It may be best to stay away from ice cream if you have erectile dysfunction because it can do you more harm than good. Ice creams can be made with different ingredients, but one thing they all contain for sure is lots of sugar. They can increase your blood sugar level and cause you to gain weight.

9. Prepackaged, canned, and frozen foods

Excessive consumption of prepackaged, canned, or frozen foods can worsen erectile dysfunction. This is because most of these contain high amounts of sodium, which is linked to high blood pressure. 

Also, foods and drinks prepackaged in plastic or aluminum may contain bisphenol-A (BPA). This chemical, according to a study, mimics estrogen, which in a male body can cause some sexual dysfunctions, such as lowering the testosterone level and reducing sex drive.

10. Pizza

Pizza is a bad food choice for anyone with erectile dysfunction. It is made of refined flour, butter, and cheese. This means pizza is not just low in nutrients but also high in calories and saturated fat.

If you are a pizza lover, you need to know that the saturated fat in pizza is not good for blood vessels, as it can block the arteries. Blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the genitals.

How is erectile dysfunction linked to food?

Erectile dysfunction is not usually considered a food-related condition; rather it is considered a blood circulation problem that can be caused by systemic diseases. This is because for an erection to happen, blood needs to be pumped to the penis and trapped there long enough to initiate and complete sexual intercourse.

Systemic diseases that can cause or increase the risk of developing ED include:

But while food does not directly cause ED, they are indirectly linked. Most of the health conditions that cause erectile dysfunction are related to diet and metabolism.

This means that if you make poor food choices that result in the development of these diseases, your risk of developing erectile issues also increases. In other words, your food choices can either promote erections or cause and worsen erectile dysfunction.

Healthy food options for erection

To prevent erectile dysfunction from getting worse, watching what you eat and limiting the intake of foods like alcohol, saturated and trans fats, and refined carbohydrates may help. 


  • Boiled, grilled, or roasted foods instead of fried foods. 
  • Low-fat protein options such as chicken, fish, and beans to help keep your heart healthy instead of red meat and processed meat.
  • Water, tea, coffee, and fruit smoothies in place of alcohol, soft drinks, and ice cream
  • Fruits, nuts, fruit and vegetable salads as snacks and desserts instead of cakes, pizzas, and pastries
  • Fresh foods instead of canned foods and drinks in a BPA-free bottle
  • complex carbs, such as whole grains, to replace refined carbs.

Wrap up

Since the ability to achieve an erection can be affected by dietary choices, it is important to avoid foods that can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Instead, go for healthier alternatives and foods that can help improve the condition, while improving your overall health.