Men who eat blueberries, blackberries, cherries and currants lower their risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED), according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Men under 70 years old got the greatest benefit. Flavanones and flavones from citrus fruits were also beneficial, along with the anthocyanin flavonoids found in dark berries like blackberries and blueberries.
The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study:
The study included about 25,000 middle-aged men, roughly half of the 50,000 or so who have been followed since 1986 in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The volunteers are dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, osteopath physicians, podiatrists, and veterinarians who answer questionnaires about their diets, lifestyle practices and health every few years.
The Benefits of Blueberries:
Over the course of 10 years, nearly one third of the participants reported developing trouble with erections. Men who consumed foods rich in anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones, such as strawberries, red wine, apples and pears in addition to citrus and dark berries, were 10 percent less likely to develop erectile dysfunction.
Erectile Function and Overall Health:
The researchers point out that these compounds also benefit heart health. The men with erectile dysfunction also had less flexible blood vessels overall. They suggest that men and their doctors should use the appearance of ED as a red flag to signal possible cardiovascular problems and make dietary and lifestyle habits that can improve health. It now appears that one of those should be to enjoy dark berries such as blueberries frequently.