Eating more fruit and exercising may reduce erectile dysfunction

According to Virtual Medical Centre, erectile dysfunction is estimated to affect 150 million men worldwide. In Australia 25 per cent of men report erectile dysfunction, and 8.5 per cent report severe erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is a very distressing condition, and it is one that becomes more common with age. Men over the age of 60 are at the greatest risk of developing this condition.

Fortunately, a new study has uncovered a healthy and effective method for reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction in middle aged men. The study shows that eating more foods rich in flavonoids, such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and citrus fruit, could reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction by more than a fifth.

The study is the first to look at the association between flavonoids and erectile dysfunction. While previous research has focused on the benefits of regular exercise in lowering the risk of erectile dysfunction, these new findings indicate that eating more flavonoid-rich foods can be as beneficial for erectile dysfunction as walking briskly for up to five hours a week.

Lead researcher, Professor Aedin Cassidy from the University of East Anglia in the UK, and colleagues from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, analysed population-based data of more than 50,000 middle aged men. The information was collected on the men’s ability to get and maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse. Dietary data was also collected.

The researchers found that men who consumed foods high in flavonoids had a lower risk of developing erectile dysfunction than men who did not consume such foods. Professor Cassidy explained that the results indicated that ‘men with a higher total fruit intake were found to have a 14 per cent reduced risk of erectile dysfunction, compared with men with lower total fruit intake.’

Furthermore, men who consumed a high amount of flavonoid rich foods, together with regular exercise were found to have a 21 per cent reduced risk of erectile dysfunction.

And the benefits don’t stop there. According to Dr Eric Rimm, Professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard, such a diet also benefits the heart. Rimm explained that ‘erectile dysfunction is often a barometer of poor vascular function.’ This finding therefore ‘offers a critical opportunity to intervene and prevent cardiovascular disease, heart attack and even death.’

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition