Penile health doesn’t just mean keeping your penis free from sexually transmitted infections or erectile dysfunction, or always showing up strong. It’s all-inclusive. So many things can affect the health of your penis, top of which are hygiene practices, lifestyle changes, underlying health conditions, and your diet.
When we say boost penis health, we are talking about preventing (or curing, in some cases) those things that affect penis health. And by ‘penis health’, we’re talking about:
- Your ability to pass urine without discomfort
- Your ability to get and maintain an erection
- Your fertility
Most conditions, diseases, or infections that affect the penis will have an effect on one or more of the above listed, which makes them excellent markers for accessing how healthy you are below the belt.
Factors That Affect the Health of Your Penis
This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Age. As you grow older, you’re more likely to have sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction. The reason for this in part is because the hormone responsible for that
(that is, testosterone) will have declined over time.
Another cause for erectile dysfunction (which happens when a person is not able to get and maintain an erection during sex-related activities) is obesity. People that are obese are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction and even impotence than those that are not. According to the Obesity Action Coalition(1), obesity can contribute to erectile dysfunction by:
- Decreasing testosterone levels
- Causing inflammation throughout the body
- Damaging the blood vessels, including those that supply blood to the penis.
Health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and psychological conditions like anxiety and depression can also worsen erectile dysfunction.
Hygiene. Poor hygiene can cause worse problems and take a longer time to treat. Poor hygiene can cause smegma, an oily, smelly, and irritating substance that occurs below the foreskin, to build up. If that happens, it can cause inflammation to the surrounding skin area and this is quite uncomfortable.
Even if you’re circumcised, poor hygiene can still lead to penile irritation and inflammation. To avoid this, take the following steps to care properly for your penis:
- Clean your penis at least once a day using a mild soap.
- Wash all parts of the penis including the pubic hair, scrotum, area between legs and scrotum, penis shaft, and area under the foreskin if you’re uncircumcised.
Diet. The best way to boost penis health is through food. The first thing to consider here though is that no matter what we eat, the whole body will benefit from it. So don’t go on a hunt for ‘penis-enriching’ meals, just include the food that is listed to be beneficial to penile health to your diet and you’re home free.
A 2016 study(2) found that a diet rich in flavonoids was associated with a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction in men below the age of 70. Flavonoids are naturally occurring chemicals in an array of vegetables, fruits, and grains. We are talking root veggies, legumes, peas, berries, grapes, citrus fruits, chocolate, and tea. Lemon tea, anyone?
To reiterate, the point is to not eat as if your penis needs special attention, but rather, include in your daily diet foods that optimize your whole body, including (and especially) the ones that have been proven to improve penile health. This will in turn help the blood to transmit these nutrients to where they are needed all over the body, including the penis.
Now, what does penis-friendly food really look like?
Green. Brown. Pink. Red. Yellow.
Those are not just colors of the rainbow, but a color guide to what you should eat.
Spinach is known to boost testosterone levels. It worked for Popeye, we don’t see why it won’t work for you too.
Spinach is a great source of folic acid, which is known to boost blood flow. Folic acid plays a critical role in male sexual function and a deficiency in folic acid has been linked to erectile dysfunction(3).
Psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. said, “Increased blood flow drives blood to the extremities, which, like Viagra, can increase arousal and make sex more pleasurable.”
Cooked spinach contains 66 percent of your daily folic acid requirement per cup, making it one of the most folate-rich foods around. Additionally, spinach contains a fair amount of magnesium, which also helps improve and stimulate blood flow and has been shown to boost testosterone levels (4).
For penile health, spinach contains
- A good source of folic acid which may help prevent erectile dysfunction.
- Contains magnesium which has been shown to boost testosterone.
We all love our morning coffee and the zap of energy it gives us to get on with our day, but coffee can be so much more than that.
Studies have found that drinking two to three cups of coffee a day may prevent erectile dysfunction. This is all thanks to coffee’s most beloved ingredient: caffeine.
Caffeine has been shown to improve blood flow by relaxing penile arteries and muscles, leading to stronger erections (5)
Caffeine for president!
Another study from The University of Texas suggests that men who drink two to three cups of java a day—or 85 to 170 milligrams of caffeine from other beverages—are 42 percent less likely to have erectile dysfunction than those who consume up to seven milligrams of the stimulant daily.
And those who throw back four to seven cups were 39 percent less likely to have the condition than their caffeine-free counterparts. The trend holds true among overweight, obese and hypertensive men (but not for those with diabetes, a condition that often causes the issue).
So how exactly does drinking coffee keep things youthful downstairs? The researchers say that the stimulant triggers a series of reactions in the body that ultimately increase blood flow to the penis (6).
So for penile health,
- Caffeine has been shown to prevent erectile dysfunction.
- Caffeine improves blood flow by relaxing penile arteries and muscles.
If you’re not a fan of coffee, you can still get your daily caffeine fix from your favorite caffeine source.
3. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is one food that will satisfy your cravings and boost your penis health at the same time. Cacao (what chocolate is made of) increases levels of the mood-improving hormone serotonin. With more serotonin in your bloodstream, your stress levels are reduced, your sex drive is higher, and you’re much more likely to reach orgasm. And that’s not all: Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that cocoa also increases blood flow and relaxes blood vessels, sending blood to all the right regions.
In addition, chocolate contains a compound called tyramine, which, according to Scritchfield, increases dopamine levels in the brain—aka the “pleasure hormone” which can light a fire in your sex life.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in compounds called catechins that have been shown to blast away belly fat and speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy. But that’s not all. Catechins also boost desire by promoting blood flow between your legs.
According to Bjork, catechins “cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow.” Blood flow to the genitals equals sexual excitement, so sipping the stuff will, well, make you want to get it on. Bjork suggests drinking four cups a day to feel the full effects (6).
5. Spicy Foods
We are talking hot sauce and chilies!
Hot sauce is one of the best condiments when it comes to your penis health. A 2015 study published in Physiology & Behavior (7) found that men who have a taste for spicy foods tend to have higher testosterone levels than those who can’t handle the heat. Of the 114 male participants surveyed, researchers saw a clear correlation between frequent hot-sauce usage and higher testosterone levels. The study authors suggest that this may be due in part to capsaicin, the fiery compound in chili pepper that other studies have also associated with increased testosterone levels (6).
“Carrots are packed with vitamin A, which helps regulate the synthesis of the sex hormone progesterone, and also stimulates sperm production,” explains Scritchfield (8).
A 2013 study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility (9) analyzed the effect of various fruit and vegetables on sperm quality. It discovered that carrots had the best all-around results on sperm count and motility—a term used to describe the ability of sperm to swim towards an egg.
Men who ate the most carrots saw improved sperm performance by 6.5 to 8 percent. The Harvard researchers behind the study attribute the boost to carotenoids, powerful antioxidative compounds in carrots that help the body make vitamin A.
Nature’s candy can be a cherry bomb for your sex life. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, plant chemicals that clean your arteries of plaque and keep blood flowing freely in the body including your penis. Make them a regular snack: One cup clocks in at fewer than 100 calories and has B vitamins, cancer-fighting flavonoids, and three grams of fiber (6).
It’s no secret that oily cold-water fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here’s something you may not know: The nutrient not only benefits your heart but also raises dopamine levels in the brain.
This spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal. What’s more, “dopamine will make you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes sex more fun,” says psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson. When it comes to your penis health, eating fish is a no-brainer! (6).
Other examples include wine, oats, chicken, and tomatoes.
Another great way to keep the penis healthy apart from diet is through exercise. Exercise does wonders for the body and penis as well. Others include drinking lots of water, sleeping well, cutting back on smoking, tobacco, and alcohol, and the use of penis pumps.
A great product is a penis pump like the Penomet can help straighten out curved penises.
In conclusion, penis health needs a holistic approach. When you take care of all aspects of your general health – enrich your diet, exercise, and keep great hygiene – you’ll have taken great care of your penis. This is especially true because many other non-penis related health conditions can affect your fertility specifically, and penile health in general.