Source: Cassidy, A., Franz, M. & Rimm, E.B. (2016): Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi 10.3945/ajcn.115.122010.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common sexual dysfunction of middle-aged men with a prevalence of 33–52%. The most frequent physical causes of ED are vascular diseases, and therefore ED has similar risk factors (hypertension, obesity, and smoking) than cardiovascular disease. Earlier studies have found out that a healthy diet, increased physical activity, and statin therapy (cholesterol lowering medication) can decrease the incidence of ED.
According to earlier studies, also Mediterranean diet has a positive influence on men’s sexual health. The Mediterranean diet consists of grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and olive oil, and therefore this diet contains also high concentrations of flavonoids that may help explain the observed beneficial effects. The aim of this study was to examine the relation of the main subclasses of flavonoids with incidence of ED.
The consumption of flavonoid-rich food is associated with decreased risk of developing depression. The possible explanation for this association is the beneficial effect of flavonoids on executive function (EF). EF describes cognitive processes, such as working memory, planning, problem-solving, cognitive flexibility, directing attention, thoughts and, therefore, behavior.
Recently, the attention of researchers has been focused on lesser-known and underutilized species of edible berries, such as crowberry, lingonberry and rowanberry. Wild berry species often display higher antioxidant activity and have higher concentrations of phenolic compounds in comparison with cultivated berries. Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) has one of the highest content of antioxidants.
Earlier studies have shown that dietary fruit and berry intake may reduce cardiovascular disease risk. However, more studies are needed to find out that which fruits and berries are most beneficial, and which key constituents are responsible for the health benefits. Recent studies have suggested beneficial effects of higher intakes of specific fruits, including blueberries and grapes, for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, flavonoids seem to be improving endothelian function, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. Therefore, flavonoids might be key constituents of fruits and berries that decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Most of the studies that have examined the associations between flavonoids and cardiovascular disease have focused on women. Thus, this study was concentrating on men.