Fruit and Wine Could Protect Against Erectile Dysfunction
If you're a fan of eating fruit and drinking wine (that counts as a fruit, right?) this news may seem too good to be true. A recent study has found that men who enjoy a diet rich in citrus fruits and red wine have a reduced risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction. So there's a good excuse!
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a very common condition that can affect men at any age. It is most often found in the over 40s, with around half of 40-70 year olds having some degree of erectile problems.
ED is diagnosed when a man regularly has trouble getting or maintaining an erection while sexually stimulated. In recent years, oral prescription treatments such as Viagra have become the most commonly used treatment for ED. However, various studies have looked into how diet and lifestyle influence the risk of developing ED and what steps can be taken to prevent it occurring in the first place.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia conducted this 40-year study in collaboration with Harvard University. They looked at data from over 50,000 men, asking each participant three times with a four-year gap between, whether they had experienced any issues with sexual dysfunction. The men also submitted reports on their diet every four years.
The researchers analysed the data and found that more than a third of the participants had experienced erectile dysfunction at some point in their life. Interestingly, they also discovered that the other two-thirds, who were seen as being at a lower risk for experiencing ED, enjoyed diets rich in foods containing flavonoids.
Flavonoids are present in many plant-based foods and drinks such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and tea. The researchers found that three types - anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones – produced the greatest benefit. Chocolate also contains flavonoids, but eating this was found to have less of an impact, although previous studies have suggest dark chocolate may provide health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease.
Tuck Into A Bowl Of Berries
These beneficial types of flavonoids are found in berries such as blueberries, cherries and blackberries, and also radishes and blackcurrants and citrus fruits.
As with all aspects of health, certain lifestyle factors such as regular exercise, not smoking and a healthy diet are also associated with a decreased risk of ED. This is supported by the study's findings that a high fruit intake of any kind was linked to a 14% lower ED risk. The risk fell by 21% for those men who both exercised regularly and consumed flavonoid-rich foods.