If your sex life has been gradually declining for several months because of decreased sexual function, you would be well-advised to make an appointment to see a doctor for a checkup. You may have high blood pressure, in which case you'll be prescribed medication to treat your condition.
The good news is your new meds will lower your blood pressure and the subsequent risk for a stroke, but they could also affect your sexual function. It's important to keep your doctor in the loop, but one of the best ways you can deal with blood pressure issues is to make changes to your lifestyle, starting with your diet.
Conditions such as high blood pressure can cause sexual dysfunction, because it narrows your arteries and causes your heart to pump harder but with less efficiency. As a result, your body spreads the blood sparingly throughout your body, and that includes the organs you need for sex.
Diet & your health
The goal of dietary changes is to stop new plaque buildup in your arteries.
In the past, it was believed that once plaque developed, it was only possible to remove it with surgery. As a result, doctors would recommend general changes but would keep patients on medication indefinitely.
New studies, however, indicate that the plaque can be shrunk with diet and exercise. Now we know that when you eliminate high-fat, high-sodium and highly processed foods from your diet, you can reduce plaque buildup in your arteries, which can actually stop your high blood pressure, which, in turn, corrects your sexual dysfunction.
Reduce animal products
Recent research has shown that two diets are the most effective in reversing high blood pressure: the DASH diet and the Nordic diet.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and emphasizes overall sodium reduction and encourages participants to eat the daily recommended levels of fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products while eliminating most meats.
This diet focuses on eating whole unprocessed foods and encourages the participant to replace most of their diet with fruits, vegetables and grains. Lean animal proteins, eggs and dairy should be consumed sparingly.
Both of these diets encourage a complete elimination of red meat and fatty and processed foods. In addition, these diets also recommend a reduced sodium diet and the complete exclusion of added sugar.
Ultimately, the goals of these diets are to stop new plaque growth but also to reduce the already-established plaque growth that is causing your high blood pressure and sexual dysfunction.
Start slow for lasting health
For many readers, these recommendations might seem impossible, but starting slow will help you create lasting changes. Your medication will protect your heart while you work on eliminating these possibly damaging items from your diet.
Start with one item at a time. Pick the food you think you can eliminate without much issue. For most people, that's red meat. Spend a few weeks living without it, and when you feel you're ready to remove something else, choose the next easiest item for you.
As you slowly eliminate the foods that cause your high blood pressure and sexual dysfunction, you will start to feel healthier, your libido will rise and your waistline will be smaller.
This may encourage you to speed up the process, but be cautious because the goal is not to change patterns for the short term. What you should be doing is creating a lasting, healthy lifestyle. If you decide to spread out these eliminations over, say, the span of months rather than days, your body has the necessary time to adjust, and that should prevent backsliding.
Reach your goals
Sexual dysfunction and high blood pressure are life-altering conditions, but with time and commitment, you can treat both of them.
In addition to dieting, you can speed up your recovery with daily low-impact exercises that will help strengthen your heart and encourage you to stick to your health plan.
Don't let your eating habits ruin your sex life. A decision today to make lasting changes to your diet will allow you to enjoy your life for years to come.