Men of any age can suffer from erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection. It is the most common sexual problem in men. Dutch research has found that 5 percent of men aged 20 to 40 and 14 percent of men aged 40 to 70 have erectile dysfunction. New research shows that Mediterranean cuisine may offer a solution.
At the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology in August 2021, Dr. Athanasios Angelis of the Greek Hippokration General Hospital presented a study that showed that a Mediterranean diet could improve erectile dysfunction. The Mediterranean diet comes from countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
Until recently, it was believed that erectile dysfunction was primarily psychological. Now it is known that elevated blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are the biggest culprits.
Men with high blood pressure are twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction as their peers with normal blood pressure. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by the fact that the small blood vessels are no longer able to dilate sufficiently, so that the blood flow is insufficient to form an erection. Previous research has already shown the positive contribution of cardio fitness, but now it also appears that a Mediterranean diet lowers blood pressure and prevents heart attacks and strokes.
Studied was whether middle-aged men with high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction adhered to the Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains and olive oil, a modest consumption of dairy products, and restriction of red meat. The researchers then examined whether dietary habits were related to fitness, testosterone levels, blood flow, arterial stiffness, and erectile performance.
250 men with hypertension and erectile dysfunction participated in the study. The average age was 56 years. Consumption of the Mediterranean diet was assessed by means of a questionnaire. The participants had to indicate on a scale of 0 to 55 the extent to which they had adhered to the diet. In addition, their fitness was assessed with a treadmill test and testosterone was measured in blood samples taken before 09:00.
Participants also had to indicate on a scale of 0 to 25 the extent of their erection problems, where 25 means you have no erection problems.
Good food and a hard penis
In an interview, Angelis says the Mediterranean diet is an excellent choice to improve your health while enjoying a wide variety of tasty dishes.”
“Erectile dysfunction is more common in middle-aged men as they accumulate years of risk factors,” Angelis explains. These risk factors include an unhealthy diet, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking. Lower testosterone levels often co-occur with erectile dysfunction.
The research team found that men who scored a 29 or higher when following the Mediterranean diet also had the highest testosterone levels, better erectile performance, lower arterial stiffness and higher blood circulation.
Starting young is benefiting later
Why the Mediterranean diet has these benefits was not investigated by the team. It is suspected that the diet improves the function of blood vessels and limits the decrease in testosterone. It probably prevents the thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Testosterone levels are known to decrease in men with high blood pressure and heart disease.
Although the men in the study were middle-aged, it is wise to start the Mediterranean diet at a young age. This will keep your blood vessels healthy and prevent erection problems later in life.
What is Mediterranean cuisine?
This is not the first time that the health benefits of Mediterranean cuisine have been demonstrated. Other studies have also long shown a link between the Mediterranean diet and its health effects. The Dutch Gastrointestinal Society also confirms this. Following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for the gut bacteria associated with healthy aging. Bacteria associated with inflammation decrease in older people on that diet.
This diet consists of all kinds of variations with vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals, legumes, nuts and healthy fats from fish, for example. The possibilities are almost endless. This makes it an eating pattern that is easy to maintain. You also do not need to count calories. If you vary enough between all the products you also get enough nutrients.
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