Drinking wine, tea and consuming fruits rich in flavonoid are likely to reduce the risk of developing erectile dysfunction, according to a new study.
A new study by scientists at Harvard University in the USA and the University of East Anglia in the U.K. have found that middle-aged men who drank red wine regularly and ate a lot of fruits rich in flavonoids such as citrus fruits, blueberries, strawberries, among others were less likely to develop erectile dysfunction.
Researchers found that just three or four portions or glasses of flavonoid-rich food and drinks were associated with a decreased risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
Flavonoids are plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties found in many fruits and vegetables like blueberries and grapes. They serve a variety of functions such as protecting blood vessel walls in people who have heart disease or diabetes, alleviating allergies, among others. Flavonoids open blood vessels and help circulation, which improves libido.
So which flavonoid-rich foods were most effective? Researchers found that the best flavonoids were those that had anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones – fruits like strawberries, blackberries, red wine, apples/pears, and citrus products.
More than 50,000 middle-aged men were included in the study dating back to 1986. They were asked about their ability to have and maintain an erection enough for sexual intercourse. Researchers also collected data on dietary intake of these men every four years.
In addition, the researchers factored body weight, physical activity, amount of caffeine consumed, and whether the participants smoked.
About one-third of the participants surveyed reported suffering new onset of erectile dysfunction. However, those who consumed diet rich in anthocyanins, flavones and flavanones were less likely to suffer the condition.
The study found that consuming more fruits was associated with a 14% decreased risk of developing erectile dysfunction, and combining flavonoid-rich foods with moderate amount of exercise regularly reduced the occurrence by 21%.
Dr. Eric Rimm, one of the lead authors and a Harvard professor, said in a statement that erectile dysfunction can be an early sign of poor vascular function. Eating the proper foods “offers a critical opportunity to prevent heart attacks, cardiovascular disease and perhaps death.”
While researchers noted that the primary cause of erectile dysfunction is vascular, there has been data to support that diet also plays a role. This has been the first study of its kind to look at the association between flavonoids and erectile dysfunction.
The researchers said that they found that “the benefits were strongest among younger men.”