Can Fruit Cure Erectile Dysfunction?
By Jay Wiener
Founder & CEO, WeightZone Factor
Ladies, Take Note
ED (erectile dysfunction) is a serious vascular disease that affects 322 million men worldwide. If that many people had a rash on their tushies, it would be declared a pandemic. However, few men are willing to talk about ED, so rashes on the butt get more public attention than does a dangerous vascular malfunction.
Years ago, doctors believed that ED was a psychological problem; men were told that if they relaxed, the problem would magically disappear. Sure. We were also told that learning to relax and reduce stress would cure ulcers, back pain, infertility, even cancer (I’m serious) but the result was always the same: a disappointing flop (especially when treating ED). FYI, that was the only childish ED joke I plan to make today. A man must maintain his standards. Also, if you didn’t notice the opening picture, please don’t look.
It turns out that ED is an early harbinger of poor vascular function, specifically, circulation in the penile capillaries. Men who smoke or drink too much alcohol, or who have obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, a history of stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases often suffer from ED years, or even decades before they develop other symptoms. ED is a vital medical marker that should not be ignored.
Atherosclerosis occurs in post-menopausal women as often as it does in men, with the same deadly effects. The best way to postpone or prevent it applies to both sexes.
Not Another Dull Research Study
Now, a surprising new study from the Department of Nutrition of The Norwich Medical School in the United Kingdom indicates that simply eating fruit, especially fruit high in antioxidants, can prevent or relieve ED in a small but significant number of men. Did they test organic produce? No. However, it’s reasonable to assume that commercial fertilizers and insecticides won’t help ED–or anything else.
Men who ate more fruit than average had a 14% reduced risk of having ED. Also, those who ate diets high in the highest antioxidant-rich fruits–including strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears and citrus fruits–had an even greater reduction in ED risk: 19%. This reduction in risk, the study authors calculated, was largely due to a man’s intake of blueberries and citrus fruits.
“We already knew that intake of certain foods high in flavonoids may reduce the risk of conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said study researcher Aedin Cassidy. “This is the first study to look at the association between flavonoids and erectile dysfunction, which affects up to half of all middle-aged and older men.” (Note that red wine has high levels of flavonoids, but men who drink two or more ounces of alcohol per day have very high levels of ED. Stick with fresh grapes.)
Will Viagra Sales Suffer?
Alas, no. Fruit won’t magically cure constipation, much less ED, but the researchers may be on to something–if their methodology holds up. They analyzed data from 25,100 health professionals–dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, osteopath physicians, podiatrists, and veterinarians, almost all of white European descent.
The men, 40–75 years old, were enrolled in the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They filled out questionnaires in 2000, 2004 and 2008, covering a wide range of health and lifestyle topics including fruit consumption and ED. They also answered questions about the frequency of erectile dysfunction going back to 1986.
The results were impressive but I have some doubts. Three problems.
First, this wasn’t a laboratory-controlled study–that wouldn’t be possible. It was based on data gleaned from questionnaires asking men about their eating and exercise patterns for the previous four years. Are memory-based estimations reliable? Tell me: Could you accurately estimate how many pieces of fruit you ate daily during the last four years? I can estimate how often I’ve climbed Mount Everest solo or slept in an igloo with Jennifer Lawrence, but not much else.
Second, the men studied were high-income, middle-aged, white medical professionals–men who tend to be more health-conscious than average. If they also eat fruit regularly, they probably have healthy lifestyles based on smart eating patterns and vigorous exercise, which is the best way to prevent, postpone, or even reverse ED.
Third (and worst), the questionnaires asked men how often they had experienced ED during the previous four years. The average guy has a much better chance of sleeping in an igloo with Jennifer Lawrence than accurately remembering and reporting how often he experienced ED.
So–Can Fruit Prevent, Alleviate or Cure ED?
Is the fruit hypothesis legitimate? Perhaps. The protective phytonutrients in fruit may help keep our blood vessels robustly open. However, the best way to ensure a satisfactory sex life is by living an intelligent lifestyle, not by eating some magic plants. Men (and women) just need to follow a few simple rules:
- Minimize or eliminate all drug use, legal or illegal.
- Get enough sleep every night.
- Eat reasonable portions of fresh, healthy foods.
- Avoid processed foods and sugars.
- Get regular, vigorous exercise.
The last three rules are taken directly from The 16-Word Diet, a series of posts that I’m turning into a book. I’ve never discussed their importance to a healthy sex life, but not surprisingly, the best way to lose weight is also the best way to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. That keeps your blood vessels open, which (again) is the best way to prevent, postpone or even reverse ED.
About Jay Wiener
Jay is both a professional mathematician and a humorist–a rare combination. After maintaining a 100+ pound weight loss for many years, he created a popular diet and fitness blog that makes wellness fun. It has helped countless people to lose weight and get healthier.
Jay is also the developer of WeightZone, a free algorithm that predicts a healthy zone of weight based on body stats, health history and exercise history. WeightZone has replaced the standard BMI and is considered to be the most accurate healthy weight guide available online.
To find your perfect weight and subscribe to his blog (to receive a free sample of his work), visit WeightZoneFactor.com.
The views and opinions of guest authors do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Full Circle.