A disturbing analysis of mortality and morbidity was recently published in the Journal of Gerontology. Americans are living longer but sicker lives. We’re now living fewer healthy years.
Compared to a decade ago, we live about a year longer, but develop a serious disease like a stroke, cancer or diabetes two years earlier. One step forward, two steps back.
The researchers at UCLA also tracked capacity to function, for example, the ability to walk up ten steps or to kneel without using special equipment and found a similar trend.
In just one decade, we now live more years with serious illness and disability, meaning we’re living longer in sickness, not in health; a longer lifespan, but a shorter health span.
The three leading causes of disability in the U.S. are arthritis, heart disease and lower back pain, which all may be either prevented or treated and in some cases even reversed with a healthy plant-based diet.
Arthritis: Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis
Cardiac Disability: Heart Disease: There Is a Cure
Degenerative Disc Disease: Cholesterol and Lower Back Pain
Every part of the body needs sufficient blood flow to function properly. Cholesterol can clog arteries in inner and outer organs, causing aneurisms, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, spinal degeneration and sexual dysfunction.
As noted in a recent article in the Harvard Health Letter, up to three quarters of men with cholesterol-narrowed coronary arteries have some degree of erectile dysfunction.
There are drugs like Viagra, considered temporary, expensive, stopgap measures. Drugs that may cause a number of hazardous side effects and don’t get to the root of the problem, artery-clogging atherosclerosis that threatens life and love life.
Not only may plant-based diets help preserve both, one plant in particular may be able to play an interim role.
Video: Watermelon as Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Drugs like Viagra work by inhibiting an enzyme that inactivates something called cGMP, which would otherwise dilate penile blood vessels. Thus, enzyme inhibition means less inactivation, which means more cGMP, which means more blood flow.
Another way to boost cGMP levels, though, is by going to the other side of the equation and stimulating the enzyme that makes it, which is a role played by nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is made from arginine and arginine can be produced by citrulline, and so researchers tested men to see what would happen if they ate more citrulline.
Their results were published in the journal Urology: “Oral Citrulline Supplementation Improves Erection Hardness in Men With Mild Erectile Dysfunction.”
The consumption of citrulline allowed for a 68 percent increase in monthly intercourse frequency. The men were given supplements, however citrulline is found naturally in watermelon.
How much might one have to eat to match the dose they used in the study? Three and a half servings a day, but yellow water melon has about four times as much, so just one serving of yellow watermelon, one wedge, one-sixteenth of a modest melon should work just as well.
Although watermelon may indeed help treat the symptoms of pelvic atherosclerosis, it’s better to get to the root of the problem and clear out the arterial plaque.
Just as Indian gooseberries may help treat diabetes (Amla Versus Diabetes,) it’s better to reverse the disease (How To Treat Diabetes). Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped and 10 other videos on reversing chronic disease.
For more on diet and sexual dysfunction, please also check out Cholesterol and Female Sexual Dysfunction, Atkins Diet: Trouble Keeping It Up, and Rosy Glow.
Michael Greger, M.D., an author and internationally recognized speaker on healthy eating, has produced hundreds of nutrition videos available at NutritionFacts.org. Follow Dr. Greger on Twitter