Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common problems facing men over the age of 40, with previous research showing that ED affects 52 percent of men ages 40 to 70.
While there are several popular drugs available to combat ED, a new study has found that a simple diet change could be the best way to treat ED and improve cardiovascular health.
A study conducted by researchers from the University of Athens that found the Mediterranean diet, specifically consuming more olive oil, could reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
670 men with an average age of 67 from the Island of Ikaria in Greece were surveyed for the study.
The researchers found that eating a healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, fish and nine tablespoons of olive oil every week decreased the risk of the erectile dysfunction by 40 percent.
Previous studies on the Mediterranean diet have found that it can improve heart health, reduce the risk of many cardiovascular diseases, some cancers, and even Alzheimer’s, as well as increasing longevity.
Because of the effects of olive oil and a balanced diet on cardiovascular health, the researchers of this latest study theorize that the diet also allows for optimal blood flow through the body and to the groin for men.
“What we found here is that the Med diet has a positive effect on aortic dilatation,” Christina Chrysohoou, the study’s lead author, told the Daily Mail. “It keeps your blood vessels healthy and helps men maintain sexual function. And of all of the components of the Med diet, it is the olive oil that has a specific effect on aortic dilatation and sexual function as well.”
The researchers found that among the 670 men who participated in the study, only 20 percent had erectile dysfunction which is well below the typical average.
Chrysohoou also pointed out that even though Viagra is a popular treatment for ED, it is not a cure and the effects are short term. Viagra has also been linked to permanent damage for erections that last more than four hours if not properly treated, loss of vision, and in some rare cases, death.
This study shows that making a few simple diet changes could not only improve sexual health but also has long-lasting positive impacts on cardiovascular health and wellbeing.