Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that eating foods rich in certain flavonoids is associated with a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction in men and maximum benefit is derived by men under the age of 70.
According to the new collaborative study from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Harvard University, flavonoid-rich foods are beneficial in the condition.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia, and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
There are many flavonoids, but Anthocyanins that is found in blueberries, cherries, blackberries, radishes and blackcurrant, is beneficial and flavanones and flavones that is found in citrus fruits were found to offer the maximum benefit in preventing erectile dysfunction.
Earlier studies have seen that increased exercise can help improve erectile function, but this research shows that eating a flavonoid-rich diet is as good for erectile function as briskly walking for up to five hours a week.
More than 50,000 middle aged men were included in this large population based study. They were asked about their ability to have and maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse, dating back to 1986. Data on dietary intake was also collected every four years.
The study also showed that a higher total fruit intake was associated with a 14 per cent reduction in the risk of erectile dysfunction. And that a combination of consuming flavonoid-rich foods with exercise can reduce the risk by 21 per cent.
More than one third of the men surveyed reported suffering new onset erectile dysfunction. But those who consumed a diet rich in anthocyanins, flavones and flavanones were less likely to suffer the condition.
Men who regularly consumed foods high in these flavonoids were 10 percent less likely to suffer erectile dysfunction, lead study author Aedin Cassidy, a nutrition professor at East Anglia, said in a press release. In terms of quantities, we’re talking just a few portions a week.
Dr Cassidy stated that the benefits were seen in young men also.
Dr Eric Rimm, senior author on the study and a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said, Erectile dysfunction is often an early barometer of poor vascular function and offers a critical opportunity to intervene and prevent cardiovascular disease, heart attack and even death.
The research team are currently looking for local volunteers aged 50-75 for a study to see whether blueberries can improve aspects of health linked to heart disease and diabetes.