The Unique Fruit That Has An Unexpected Effect On Men's Sexual Health

Despite the existing stigma, those who experience erectile dysfunction (ED) are far from alone. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), approximately 30 million men across the country are impacted by erectile dysfunction, or the inability to start or sustain an erection. But what makes up men's sexual health goes well beyond physical performance; it also encompasses hormonal health, sperm quality, libido, and prostate cancer risk (via Dr. Tracy Gapin). All of these are aspects of sexual health that can be affected as men age.

Our sexual health is influenced by both internal and external factors, ranging from genetics to the foods we eat, to our emotional wellness. While some of these factors may be out of our hands, certain lifestyle habits may help curb problems experienced in the bedroom — and diet is one of the first areas in which we can make some of these healthy modifications. For men looking to support their sexual health, adding more pomegranate to your diet may be an effective way to do so.

Pomegranate may improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction

In one pomegranate fruit that measures about 4 inches in diameter, you'll find 11.3 grams of fiber, 28.2 milligrams of calcium, nearly 34 milligrams of magnesium, 666 milligrams of potassium, 102 milligrams of phosphorus, and more, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Overflowing with nutrients, you'll find triple the amount of antioxidants in pomegranate than you would in other antioxidant-rich dietary sources like green tea or red wine (via Dr. Tracy Gapin). If you're unfamiliar with antioxidants, it's these compounds that may explain the link between pomegranate and improvements in men's sexual health, as antioxidants are known to boost blood flow, lessen inflammation, and lower the risk of certain erectile dysfunction-related health conditions.

In a 2013 scientific review published in Hindawi, researchers outlined numerous different studies that examined the effects of pomegranate extract on subjects with erectile dysfunction. In one animal study, researchers altered the arterial blood flow of rabbits to mimic human cases of erectile dysfunction related to atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries). In comparison to animals that did not receive pomegranate extract, the rabbits that did experienced a boost in circulation, muscle relaxation, and erectile activity.

Other ways pomegranate may benefit men's sexual health

Human studies analyzing the effects of pomegranate on men's sexual health have also produced encouraging results. The Hindawi scientific review referenced an alternate small study in which self-reported improvements in mild to moderate cases of ED symptoms were seen in connection with consumption of 8 ounces of pomegranate juice over the course of 28 days. All study participants were men between the ages of 21 and 70.

There is also evidence to suggest that eating or drinking pomegranate juice may help kick sexual desire up a notch, as well as improve sperm health (via Dr. Tracy Gapin). Men who regularly consume pomegranate may also reduce their susceptibility to prostate cancer, as some research has shown that the fruit's polyphenol content supports our body's process of apoptosis, or the elimination of abnormal cells. Finally, because pomegranate is so nutrient-dense, it may also help protect against the development of heart disease, obesity, and other diseases that can be detrimental to men's sexual health.