Can’t keep (it) up? Yes, I’m talking about your penis, man. Time to pipe up about your problems – because it’s not hard, and you’re not alone. November marks the International Vegan Society’s official Vegan Awareness Month – that will create awareness around the many benefits of a vegan lifestyle – including your sexual health.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) and impotence is fairly prevalent in South Africa, affecting about 5% of men from the age of 30 and significantly escalates to between 50% – 60% in men over the age of 60, say urologists, despite the absence of documented statistics.

What’s even more scary is that in 30% of such cases, men do not respond to available medications. So when viagra fails,  who do you turn your penis to? Cialis? Levitra? Perhaps the next best thing isn’t a different form of the same medication. A simple solution to improving your sexual stamina may just be switching to a vegetarian diet, according to registered dietician Caryn Davies.

Check out The Carnivore’s Guide to Vegetables and this delicious recipe: Aubergine and Spicy Tomato Curry.

While psychological factors such as stress, anxiety and depression can lead to non-organic impotence, physical factors are the cause of organic impotence that progresses gradually because our physical health deteriorates as we age.

“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,” 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.”

As cholesterol is only found in animal products, a great alternative is the Fry’s vegetarian range, which is high in plant protein – such as banger and braai-style sausages that can be cooked in the same way as meat products – minus the cholesterol!

Read how this couple overcame the ‘bedroom blues’ – Sex And Erectile Dysfunction.

Here are some tips to keep ED out of your bed:

Go green: switch from fatty animal proteins to protein rich plant foods, or at least substitute regularly.

Get roughage: a high-fibre, low GI diet will assist in weight loss, but also in the symptomatic treatment of non-organic impotence.

Quit smoking: this habit can accelerate arterial disease and cause damage to all blood vessels – of any organ or appendage. Try to Quit Smoking With Fruit.

Go easy on the alcohol: alcohol is a central nervous system sedative – more than two glasses a day is not advisable if you are looking to avoid lethargy.