I say this to students in my nutrition classes all the time: when it comes to health, it is ALL about circulation. If we have poor circulation, oxygen isn't able to flow freely to the tissues of our body, and that means those tissues ultimately die faster. This is true for brain and heart cells. It's true for ALL cells, as recently published in the journal Circulation.
This study followed over 1500 men for several years, finding men with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) were almost twice as likely to die (death from any cause) than men who did not have ED. Men with ED were also significantly more likely to experience heart attacks and stroke than men without ED. To read the abstract of the study, click here.
Why is this? Erectile Dysfunction is caused by poor - you guessed it - circulation. So is heart disease and stroke, although ED may appear a few years earlier. What improves circulation? A diet low in homocysteine (which attacks arterial tissue, causing plaque to form) and cholesterol. Both these substances are found in animal-origin foods: including fish, poultry, milk, eggs and dairy products. Antioxidants, fiber, and folate are nutrients that fight plaque and therefore improve circulation. We find these in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds).
Even though plaque appears to be permanent, it's not. Plaque comes and goes regularly in our arteries. The problem is, most Americans eat a diet that never lets it simply "go". A plant-based, high fiber will do just that. It's really that easy to change ED and improve circulation!