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June is national Men’s Health month and no better time to talk about an uncomfortable but vital subject: erectile dysfunction.

A lack of interest in sex, impotence and early ejaculation are all symptoms of sexual health problems that can occur at any stage in a man’s life. Many men shy away from seeking help for fear of judgement; however, simple lifestyle and nutritional changes may be an excellent first step.

“There’s nothing greater than a fear of failure to ‘perform’ to put a man off sex. Profoundly relaxing and invigorating, sex is a wonderful antidote to the crazed pace of our century,” says Patrick.

Patrick suggests that a nutritional approach to sex could assist in combatting some of these symptoms.

“A healthy sex drive is not a simple matter of taking a magic potion. There are many factors that influence desire, including environment, emotional triggers, insecurity, past experiences and a lack of communication. Aside from these, lifestyle plays a large role.”

The primary ‘mood killer’ is stress, which, when prolonged, has adverse effects on hormone balance, in addition to many other health aspects.

“Testosterone and cortisol are steroid hormones, derived from progesterone. If your body is focuses on producing cortisol to compensate for long-term stress, it puts testosterone production on hold,” says Patrick.

While sex may be the main concern, sexual problems could also be an indication of other health problems that need to be addressed.

“Erectile dysfunction could be a sign of a blockage in the artery to the penis (atherosclerosis), diabetes or nerve damage,” explains Patrick.

It is clear that there is no simple solution to the problem, and while many turn to quick-fix medications, Patrick says this does little to solve the problem and merely conceals it. He maintains that lifestyle changes are the best way to a long-term solution.

“There are several nutrients and herbs that have been studied in terms of their aphrodisiac qualities, many of which just need replenishing.”

  1. Dark chocolate – go for a cocoa content of 70% or more and choose organic wherever possible.
  2. Oysters – while cliché these shellfish are an extremely rich source of Zinc.
  3. Strawberries – low in glycaemic carbohydrates, you can eat these romantic berries guilt-free.
  4. Avocados – stick to a maximum of three servings per week.
  5. Lentils – have two cups a day of this rich source of protein.
  6. Garlic – while not conducive to fresh breath, it is one of the top sources of antioxidants.
  7. Mushrooms – a great source of niacin and Vitamin D.
  8. Broccoli – rich in Vitamins B and C.