Dietary Flavonoids Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

Consumption of foods containing flavonoids, such as red wine, blueberries, black tea, citrus fruits, peanuts and chocolate, reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction by 14 percent— according to a study by Aedín Cassidy from Norwich Medical School, and colleagues, in the UK. Flavonoids are chemicals found in many plants that decrease inflammation and act as antioxidants. Most erection problems are caused by poor blood flow in the penis. The cells lining the blood vessels secrete a gas called nitric oxide that controls blood flow. Blood vessel disease disturbs the function of these cells, which reduces their ability to release nitric oxide and maintain erections. Healthy blood vessels have a large capacity to make nitric oxide and produce healthy erections. Lifestyle changes— exercise and healthy diet— are the best long-term solutions for improving sexual function because they enhance the health of the cells lining the blood vessels (endothelium). (American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 103: 534-541, 2016)

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