Harvard Men's Health Watch

Flavonoids associated with better erectile function

In the Journals

If you are worried about erectile dysfunction (ED), you might want to turn to the produce section. Flavonoid-rich foods may lower your risk of ED, which affects half of middle-aged and older men, according to a study published in February 2016 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Of the main types of flavonoids, three had the greatest benefit: anthocyanins, flavanones, and flavones. High levels of these natural plant chemicals are found in berries, like blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, as well as cherries, grapes, apples, pears, and citrus fruit.

More than 50,000 men participated in the study, and the researchers found that those who consumed at least three portions of flavonoid-rich foods per week, on average, were 10% less likely to suffer from ED. How flavonoids help is not fully known, but earlier research has shown that some flavonoids can make arteries more flexible, which increases blood flow, says lead author Dr. Aedin Cassidy, professor of nutrition at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, England.

"Adding a few more portions of these fruits to your diet also can help prevent cardiovascular disease, and ED is often an early barometer of poor vascular function," she says.