A study conducted jointly by Harvard University and the University of East Anglia in England showed that a flavonoid-rich diet can help reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction, which is a common condition in older men.
The properties of exercise to prevent erectile dysfunction are already known, but this is the first time that a study has examined flavonoid-rich nutrition in conjunction with exercise as a countermeasure to erectile dysfunction in older men. Flavonoids are naturally occurring antioxidant substances in foods and beverages of plant origin such as fruits and vegetables, tea, and even wine.
To conduct the experiment, a team of researchers from Harvard University and East Anglia, England, examined over 25,000 middle-aged men for erectile dysfunction in 2000, 2004, and 2008. They were also asked about their previous erectile dysfunction from 1986.
The researchers also recorded information about their diet every four years, focusing on the six most common flavonoids.
Flavonoids combined with exercise is even better
More than a third of men reported suffering from erectile dysfunction, although those who had a flavonoid-rich diet suffered less frequently. A few servings of flavonoid-rich food per week reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction by 10%. The best results were achieved in men under 70 years of age.
A fruit-rich diet also reduced the risk by 14%, but when flavonoids were combined with exercise, the risk was reduced by 21%. Their research also showed that this type of diet helps to combat erectile dysfunction in the same way as fast walking for five hours a week.
Among the six flavonoids studied, the researchers found that three had particularly beneficial properties: Anthocyanins, which are found in blueberries, cherries, blackcurrants, blackberries, and radishes. Flavanones and flavones, which are very present in citrus fruits. The most popular sources of flavonoids in the United States are strawberries, red wine, apples, pears, and citrus fruits.
Dr. Eric Rimm, the author of the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, states that “Men with erectile dysfunction are highly motivated to live healthier lives, exercise and eat well, which could also benefit their cardiovascular health in the long term.”