Experts used to think that erectile dysfunction was predominantly caused by psychological or neurological problems and whilst that’s true for some men, evidence now clearly suggests that for the vast majority, the issue is worsening blood vessel function. It’s affected by the same risk factors as heart disease and it can be its first indicator. High blood pressure, obesity and smoking markedly increase the risk of both heart disease and erectile dysfunction.
It’s widely accepted that an increased intake of flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds in fruit, vegetables and tea, improves blood vessel function and reduces blood pressure. Hence a large study of over 25,000 men set out to investigate the link between diet and erectile dysfunction. During its 10 year study period, 35.6 per cent reported erectile dysfunction. Those who ate the most foods containing flavonoids, and fruit especially, had a significantly lower chance of experiencing erectile dysfunction – 14 per cent lower to be precise. The study authors suggested that a healthy diet with plenty of plant foods can help prevent or treat erectile dysfunction.
Cassidy et al., 2016. Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 103 (2) 534-541.