One of the leading causes of death in the western world, coronary artery disease has a predictor who’s link has often been ignored. Erectile dysfunction and atherosclerosis, can be two different manifestations of the exact same root problem: inflamed, clogged, and crippled arteries, regardless of where in the body it appears. And because the penile arteries are only about half the size of the coronary arteries in the heart, erectile dysfunction can be a powerful predictor of cardiac events because the symptoms are likely to show there first.
Atherosclerosis is considered a systemic disorder that uniformly affects all major blood vessels in the body. Hardening of the arteries can lead to softening of the penis because stiffened arteries can’t relax, open wide, and let the blood flow. Thus erectile dysfunction may just be the ‘tip of an iceberg’ in terms of a systemic disorder. For two-thirds of men showing up to emergency rooms for the first time with crushing chest pain, their penis had been showing them for years that something was wrong with their circulation.
Penile arteries are half the size of the coronary artery in our heart. So the amount of plaque we wouldn’t even feel in the heart could clog half the penile artery, causing symptomatic restriction in blood flow. That’s why erectile dysfunction has been called “penile angina.” In fact, by measuring blood flow in a man’s penis we can predict the results of his cardiac stress test with an accuracy of 80%. Male sexual function is like a penile stress test, a “window into the hearts of men.”
Forty percent of men over age forty have erectile dysfunction. 40 over 40. Erectile dysfunction is the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order for satisfactory sexual performance. It is present in up to 30 million men in the U.S. and approximately 100 million men worldwide. The U.S. has less than 8% of the world’s population, yet up to 30% of the impotence! The problem is that the pills like viagra which many people use to address the problem just cover up the symptoms of vascular disease and don’t do anything for the underlying pathology.
Men with erection difficulties in their 40s have a 50-fold increased risk of having a cardiac event (like sudden death). That’s because it’s not so much a risk factor for atherosclerosis as atherosclerosis itself. A man “with erectile dysfunction (even if he doesn’t have cardiac symptoms) should be considered a cardiac patient until proven otherwise.”
Erectile dysfunction is considered to be a cardiac equivalent; it’s a marker of the coronary artery one likely already has. Thus, there’s more to treating ED than the obvious symptom; it offers an opportunity for reducing cardiovascular risk. The reason even young men should care about their cholesterol is because it predicts erectile dysfunction later in life, which in turn predicts heart attacks, strokes, and a shortened lifespan.
~Taken from Michael Greger M.D. NutritionFacts.com
Of all the plant foods individually examined so far, nuts appear most tied to longevity. Just two handfuls a week may extend a woman’s life the same amount as jogging four hours a week. So, if nuts reduce the risk of heart disease, might they also help with sexual dysfunction?
A study where men eating three to four handfuls of pistachios a day for just three weeks experienced both significant improvement in blood flow and significant improvement in erectile function. This is not surprising. Antioxidant-rich foods have a viagra-like effect of boosting nitric oxide production. Also, the citruline in watermelons helped with firmness by boosting arginine, which is what our body makes nitric oxide out of. Pistachios have a bunch of antioxidants which may help explain the improvement in blood flow. Pistachios contain l-arginine, which can make the lining of your arteries more flexible and make it less likely you will develop blood clots that could cause a heart attack, and vitamin E, which makes it less likely your arteries will become clogged with plaque, notes MayoClinic.com.
We also know that cholesterol is an important predictor of sexual dysfunction in both men and women, and after just three weeks, those eating pistachios had significant improvements in cholesterol without any side effects. Like other studies that piled on hundreds of calories of nuts a day, there was no weight gain.
Note the two important differences between diet and drugs. Drugs like Viagra just cover up the symptoms of the underlying problem–unhealthy arteries. Eating whole healthy plant foods like nuts actually helps attack the root cause — cholesterol, oxidation, and inflammation — and has only good side effects.
~Michael Greger MD, NutritionFacts.org, 27 May 2014 & HealthyEating.sfgate.com
Recipe of the Month
Nut and Bean Sausages
1½ c cooked pinto or kidney beans
½ c chopped walnuts
1 Weetbix or ¼ c bread crumbs
1 cup well cooked rice
2 T chopped onion
1 t garlic and herb salt
Mix all ingredients together and mold into sausages or patties. Bake or fry.