A healthy diet has numerous benefits to the body, but a specific diet may be ideal for male sexual health, according to a new study released recently. Scientists at the University of Athens, Greece, found that the Mediterranean diet helps fight erectile dysfunction, while benefiting men’s heart health.
This dietary pattern, which is widely debated in the area, consists of the priority consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil, with a low consumption of dairy products and red meat. The research then says that hypertensive men are twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction compared to non-hypertensive men. That’s because the small arteries lose their ability to dilate and increase blood flow. Also, when a man enters middle age, testosterone levels get lower.
Previous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet lowers blood pressure and prevents strokes and heart attacks, as well as physical fitness also favors those suffering from hypertension. In the current study, therefore, researchers evaluated the adoption of middle-aged men with hypertension and erectile dysfunction to the Mediterranean diet, also looking at fitness, testosterone levels and arterial stiffness.
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250 men with the conditions participated in the study, with a mean age of 56 years, who were evaluated on eating with scores from 0 to 55 through a questionnaire, in addition to a treadmill test and testosterone measurements.
To analyze vascular health, participants took echocardiographies to measure coronary flow reserve, that is, the ability to increase blood flow when needed. Volunteers also analyzed arterial stiffness with measures of amplification index and central arterial pressure. Higher values meant stiffer arteries, which consequently can lead to adverse cardiac events in patients suffering from erectile dysfunction.
The researchers also analyzed the severity of erectile dysfunction using the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) questionnaire, which has five questions about a participant’s erectile capacity, with scores ranging from 0 to 25. The higher the score, the better the performance.
After all the measurements, the scientists found that men who scored higher on the Mediterranean diet, above 29 points, also had a greater reserve of coronary flow and testosterone, as well as better erectile performance and less arterial stiffness. The research also performed analyzes according to physical performance, finding that more active patients had a higher coronary flow reserve, as well as testosterone, as well as lower arterial stiffness and higher scores on the Mediterranean diet.
Athanasios Angelis, author of the study, says that consumption of the Mediterranean diet is therefore associated with better physical performance, healthier arteries and better blood flow, higher testosterone levels and improved erectile performance. “Even if we have not analyzed the mechanisms, it seems plausible that this dietary pattern can improve physical performance and performance by increasing the function of blood vessels and limiting the drop in testosterone that occurs in midlife,” says the scientist.
Source: Science Blog, ESC
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