Men experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED) know all too well how this defeating condition has a significant impact on their quality of life. This widespread problem found around the globe with estimates of a 33-52% prevalence found particularly in middle-aged men, is believed to be blamed on vascular issues connected with cardiovascular disease. It is well-known that risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, and smoking all increase cardiovascular disease with ED as a possible symptom being added to that list.
A 2016 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sheds light on a potential dietary solution where growing evidence has shown improvements in endothelial function and blood pressure. Dietary flavonoid intake may be one part of the puzzle in reducing ED. If foods rich in flavonoids can demonstrate progress in cardiovascular risk factors, then it would suggest that flavonoids could also reduce the incidence of ED.
The research wanted to find out if there was a relation between men who regularly consumed foods containing flavonoids and if it did improve ED. The observational study followed 25,096 men participating from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for over 10 years. The men filled out questionnaires every 4 years reporting their total flavonoid intake using a food-frequency form and along with rating their erectile function in the years 2000, 2004 and again in 2008.
Results of the study showed that men who had a habitual, increased intake of foods containing flavonoids did see improvements in erectile function.
It is projected that worldwide the prevalence for ED by 2025 is estimated to be highest in the developing world with greater than 322 million men being affected. The study shows a strong association of eating a healthy diet rich in flavonoids, together with physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight to be important components to improving cardiovascular disease, sexual health and ED
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids are plant compounds coming from a large family of polyphenols. To be specific, there are six major subclasses of flavonoids – anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, flavanones, flavones, and isoflavones.
There are many health properties besides improving ED flavonoids appear to offer. Over the years studies have shown flavonoids to appear effective at improving cardiovascular health, improving glycemic control in diabetics, potential cancer preventative effects, enhancing cognitive functioning, and exhibiting anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Flavonoids are found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables, chocolate, and beverages like wine and tea. When we incorporate foods with flavonoids, we are taking a step in the right direction in choosing nutritious foods that are naturally good for us. Here is a listing of the various plant-based foods containing flavonoids providing their exceptional nutritional compounds contributing to our health and that men should consume more often:
· Purple grapes
· Red wine
· Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
· Teas – particularly white, green, and oolong
· Black tea
· Onions and scallions
· Parsley and thyme
· Hot peppers
· Citrus fruit and their juices – oranges, lemons, and grapefruit