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Flavonoid-Rich Foods May Reduce Risk of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction affects many men in middle and later age and may be an early warning sign of vascular issues. A recent study suggests that eating more flavonoid-rich foods, particularly those high in anthocyanins, may reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Participants in the study included more than 50,000 men who took part in a large population based study. The researchers questioned them about their ability to have and maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse, dating to as far back as 1986. They also collected data on diet every four years.

The researchers restricted the study group to men who were in otherwise good health. They also took the men’s body weight, physical activity, and amount of caffeine consumed as well as whether or not they smoked into consideration.

More than one third of the participants reported new onset erectile dysfunction during the study period. Upon examining the data, the researchers found that the men who consumed a diet rich in anthocyanins, flavones, and flavanones were at a 21% lower risk of erectile dysfunction.

The researchers also found that the men who consumed the highest number of anthocyanins and flavanones and were also physically active were the least likely to have erectile dysfunction.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia and Harvard University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 13, 2016, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Flavonoids are naturally occurring antioxidants which have previously been shown to decrease inflammation, protect our DNA from damage, and improve heart and brain health by increasing blood flow. Foods high in flavonoids include citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, tea, cooked greens and dark chocolate, all of which are can be easily incorporated into your daily diet.

Previous studies have shown that anthocyanins protect the body from damage by free radicals, which may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins can be found in red, blue, or purple fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, cranberries and acai have particularly high levels.

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