Berries May Boost Men's Sexual Health

By Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, Urologist and Co-Director of The PUR Clinic at South Lake Hospital

Berries, blackberries and cherries are good for overall health, but they also may improve sexual health in men.

In a study published last year in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that foods rich in flavonoids — nutrients that give fruits and vegetables their color — are linked to a lower risk of erectile dysfunction, a condition that affects 40 percent of men older than 40 and 52 percent of men overall. Flavonoids also are found in citrus fruits and red wine.

More fruit consumption reduced a man’s risk of erectile dysfunction by 14 percent. Adding regular exercise to a diet rich in flavonoids reduced the risk by 21 percent.

Three types of flavonoids — anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones — had the biggest effect on preventing erectile dysfunction. Anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in blue, purple and red fruits and vegetables, also is linked to improved blood vessel health, which may explain why it helps combat erectile dysfunction.

All it takes is a few servings a week of flavonoid-rich foods for men to reap the health benefits, the study showed. However, it’s important to note that the research only found an association between these foods and men’s sexual health — not a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

Erectile dysfunction can signal other, more serious health issues. In young healthy males, erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of heart disease.

If you’re concerned about this condition, there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Staying fit and healthy is key, so get a few hours of moderate exercise every week. And follow a balanced diet — berries included.

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