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10 foods to help you stay erect

10 foods to help you stay erect

Amish Patel - NowPatientGreen tick
Updated on 4 Apr 2024

Your diet affects your sexual health. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but did you know that what you eat and drink can affect your erections? What you put in your mouth can make a difference to what happens down there.

Some foods can help you stay erect. Specifically, foods that have been scientifically proven to boost testosterone, improve blood flow and help combat erectile dysfunction (ED) or sexual dysfunction one of the most common men’s health issues out there.


Start the day the right way and you could reap the benefits later on. Try including some of these foods for erectile dysfunction in your breakfast:

1. Porridge

It might not sound like the sexiest of meals, but oats are rich in the amino acids your body needs to stay healthy, including L-arginine, which has been shown to reduce ED by improving blood flow to the penis, helping keep your blood vessels smooth and stretchy, which is what an ED medication such as sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis) does. Oats can also reduce cholesterol levels, helping to prevent arteries from becoming narrowed or blocked, which can also help combat ED.

2. Coffee

Research has shown that men who drink the equivalent of two to three cups of coffee a day have a lower chance of having ED. It’s thought that caffeine is the magic ingredient and that it possibly helps to stave off ED by relaxing the arteries and muscles inside the penis, improving the flow of blood, resulting in stronger erections.


Ditch that mediocre meal deal for some of these:

3. Shellfish, chicken, and tofu

Zinc plays an important role in the production of testosterone. Shellfish including oysters, mussels, crab and lobster are prized aphrodisiacs due to their rich zinc content. Many studies have found links between low levels of zinc and low levels of the hormone, which can lead to a reduced desire for sex and ED. Best food sources of zinc include shellfish, particularly oysters, chicken and for vegetarians, tofu.

4. Tuna and other fish

Magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to boost testosterone production and it also helps your body process nitric oxide, which helps relax muscle tissue inside the penis and encourage blood to flow into it. Some types of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium include albacore tuna, salmon, herring, mussels, anchovies, swordfish, sardines, mackerel, and trout.

5. Green vegetables

Green leafy greens, asparagus, spinach, edamame beans, and broccoli, are all good sources of folic acid (folate) a type of B vitamin that improves blood flow. They are also rich in nitrates, natural chemical compounds that have a vasodilating effect. Research has linked low levels of folic acid to ED, so make sure you don’t skip your greens.

6. Fruit

Potassium has been shown to assist blood flow as it helps to stop your arteries from becoming blocked.

Many types of fruit are good sources of potassium, including kiwis, avocados, cantaloupe melons, guavas and bananas. Other beneficial fruits to improve sexual performance are watermelon, pomegranate and blueberries. Why not have a portion of fruit for dessert after lunch and avoid the inevitable post-lunch snacking?


Steak, curry, and chocolate. Now we’re talking.

7. Beef

Beef can be a great testosterone booster. It’s high in zinc, but it also contains an amino acid called leucine which has also been shown to improve testosterone levels. Beef can be fatty though, so make sure you choose leaner cuts, like sirloin steak. Remember that red meat has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, so make steak an occasional treat more than a regular part of your diet.

8. Curry

Research has shown that men who eat spicy foods have higher-than-average levels of testosterone. The key ingredient in the spice is thought to be capsaicin, a molecule found in chilli peppers that may boost levels of testosterone. Foods high in capsaicin are those which contain chilli, like curries. You can also add capsaicin to your diet by using hot pepper sauces like Tabasco sauce.

9. Dark chocolate

Great news if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in plants and in high levels in dark chocolate have been shown to improve blood flow. Dark chocolate is also high in magnesium, making it a double win. Flavonoid-rich foods are an essential addition to your diet as they encourage blood flow.


Steer clear of those artery-clogging, waist-expanding biscuits and crisps and grab a handful of nuts and seeds instead:

10. Nuts and seeds

Nuts such as pistachios and seeds are packed with nutrients, including erection-friendly magnesium and zinc. Research has also found that regularly eating nuts improves men’s libidos and the quality of their orgasms. Awesome. Nuts and seeds can be high in calories though, so don’t eat the whole bag in one go.

Healthy life, healthy heart, healthy erections

You might have noticed a trend here. Yep, most of the foods we’ve recommended are healthy, but if you want good erections, you need to try and lead a healthy life too.

In addition to the specific benefits, we’ve mentioned here, a healthy diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables, fish and lean meats can help keep your weight and cholesterol down as well as ensure your cardiovascular health is strong and that blood is pumping around your body. All of these will improve your chances of avoiding erectile dysfunction. Exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting enough sleep can also help too. Lifestyle changes are a key component to help erectile function, heart health and overall health benefits.

These specific foods for erectile dysfunction aren’t a miracle cure though. They can help, but if you regularly experience ED you should see a healthcare professional for medical advice too. It can be an early sign that you have a more serious health condition. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can contribute to problems with erectile dysfunction. Read our causes of erectile dysfunction post where you can learn more about erectile dysfunction and erectile dysfunction treatment and get advice on what you can do about it.


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NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information on this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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