Could the Mediterranean diet and olive oil reduce erectile dysfunction?


The Mediterranean diet has been linked to lower cancer risk and a healthier heart. And now, it’s been linked to a better sex life, according to new research.

Read more: This study on older adults’ sex lives proves your sex life isn’t doomed

Scientists from the University of Athens studied 660 guys who followed a Mediterranean diet, which is high in in fruit and vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts and olive oil. It found that only one-fifth of the men, who were 67 years old on average, reported erectile dysfunction, according to Newsweek. In comparison, estimates show that 52% of men between 40 and 70 years old deal with erectile dysfunction, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

This research was presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich and has not yet been published.

The study recommends eating nine tablespoons of olive oil, 13 servings of vegetables, six pieces of fruit, three servings of fish and two portions of beans a week to decrease risk, reported Newsweek. However, study authors believe olive oil is especially beneficial because it keeps blood vessels healthy. This is important because the penis relies on a steady supply of blood to maintain erections.

Read more: This new gel could help you get an erection in just 5 minutes

“Men who follow a Med diet – particularly consuming lots of olive oil – see their risk of impotence reduced by up to 40% in older age,” lead researcher Dr Christina Chrysohoou told the paper. “It offers men a long-term solution without taking any medication, such as Viagra.”

But could this cooking staple really be the secret to stronger erections?

Does it actually work?

“People should not take away from the article that olive oil itself is some magical cure or preventative for erectile dysfunction,” Dr Nathan Starke, urologist at Houston Methodist, told Men’s Health in an email.

Read more: How to maintain your erection

Dr Miguel Pineda, Director of Male Sexual Dysfunction and Urologic Prosthetics at Staten Island University Hospital, agrees that dousing your food in olive oil isn’t the solution.

“It is important to realise that there is no quick-fix to prevent or cure erectile dysfunction,” he tells Men’s Health in an email. “My concern is that people will see a headline about olive oil preventing erectile dysfunction, and they will continue with their usual unhealthy diet and lack of exercise and simply consume spoonfuls of olive oil to their day!”

Adapting healthier habits overall, like exercising and following the Mediterranean diet, could help with impotence.

The diet notably benefits your heart because it includes good fat and plenty of fruits and vegetables. This may help with erections because “what is good for the heart and blood vessels is good for erectile function, which relies on small arteries to provide the blood it needed for penile engorgement,” Dr Starke explains. “So in that regard, I agree with the article.”

Read more: We decode 3 popular diets and discuss the pro’s, con’s and what you should take from each

Plus, you could follow the Mediterranean diet to drop a few kilograms, and studies have shown that extra weight is linked to erectile dysfunction, as Men’s Health has previously reported. If you’re dealing with impotence and are at least 20% heavier than your ideal weight, then adopting a healthier diet may be a good strategy.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Should the red carpet portion of SONA be scrapped this year?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's inappropriate given the state of the country
93% - 3614 votes
No, it's part of the tradition
7% - 266 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.