If your partner suffers from impotence, heâ??s not alone! Despite the absence of documented statistics, urologists peg the prevalence of impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED) in South Africa at 5% of men over the age of 30, with a significant increase to between 50 and 60 percent of men past the age of 60.

When medication fails

Approximately 30% of ED cases do not respond to treatment with any of the available medication.

So what can you do to help the man in your life?

According to registered dietitian, Caryn Davies, when the meds fail, a change to a vegetarian diet may just be the simple solution.

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Understanding impotence

ED is broadly divided into two categories – organic and non-organic impotence.

Organic impotence implies that the root of the problem is physical, which may be a marker for underlying health problems, most likely vascular disease.

Non-organic impotence is psychological, often linked to stress, anxiety or depression.

Non-organic impotence develops more abruptly, whereas organic impotence may be a gradual in progression, as physical health becomes compromised over time.

The power of a vegetarian diet

The healing power of diet for impotency can be found as far back as Mesopotamia, where mention is made of men consuming roots and plants to restore their prowess. The diet advocated during medieval times included almonds, pistachios, dates, turnips, broad beans, kidney beans, peas, onions and honey, amongst others.

â??Although the nutritional link to ED has not been extensively researched, numerous studies have made the connection between ED and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Seeing that the risk factors associated with ED are similar to those associated with CVD – which includes arteriosclerosis, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, hypertension and depression – the dietary methods for management would involve treating the aforementioned symptoms, most of which would require a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol,â? says Davies.

Examining the physiology of arterial disease and its inhibitory effect on blood flow, it makes perfect sense that an erection, which relies on a sufficient inflow of blood, would be compromised in the presence of CVD risk factors.

The quickest way to adopt a cardiovascular diet is to cut down on cholesterol and saturated fat by including more sources of plant protein and cutting down on meat, she says.

As cholesterol is found only in animal products, it makes sense to use vegetable options instead.

Fryâ??s vegetarian range offers an assortment of nutritious, delicious vegan options, including banger and braai-style sausages, that can be cooked on a Weber and enjoyed in a bun, but can also firmly guarantee cholesterol-free eating.

If your man suffers from ED, here are tips to help reduce impotence:

  • Go green – Switch from fatty animal proteins to protein rich plant foods or at least substitute on a more regular basis.

  • Get roughage – A high fibre, low GI diet will assist in weight loss, but also in the symptomatic treatment of non-organic impotence. Vegan diets are also naturally higher in fibre, due to the increased consumption of grains, fruits and vegetables. For vegetarians seeking variety, Fryâ??s foods offer great high fibre snack foods too, such as blackbean, quinoa & chia bites and others in the Food from Nature range

  • Quit smoking – This nasty habit can accelerate arterial disease and cause damage to all blood vessels – of any organ or appendage!

  • Go easy on, or eliminate, the alcohol – Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative and more than two glasses per day is not advisable if you are looking to avoid lethargy all round!

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.