Researchers have added yet another health benefit to the consumption of red wine. Flavonoids, such as anthocyanins (found in red wine, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and cranberries), and flavanones and flavones (found in citrus fruits), seem to reduce the risk of impotence (erectile dysfunction) in men.
The study, recently carried out by the University of East Anglia (UEA) Norwich Medical School and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, included over 50,000 healthy middle aged men as subjects. Dating back to 1986, they were questioned on their ability to have and maintain erections. Dietary information was also collected every 4 years. Other factors such as caffeine intake, cigarette usage, physical activity, and weight were also taken into consideration.
Results showed that a flavonoid-rich diet is as good for improving erectile dysfunction in men as some physical activity (briskly walking up to 5 hours a week), and that men consuming foods high in anthocyanins, flavanones, and flavones are 10% less likely to struggle with erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, a higher fruit intake showed a 14% reduction in the risk of erectile dysfunction, with that number increasing to 21% when coupled with exercise. This seems to be most beneficial to men under the age of 70.
This study coincidentally came shortly after UK government officials released an official report on alcohol consumption, not only recommending a reduction in alcohol units, but also suggesting that no amount of regular drinking is considered safe.
Indeed, despite the promising results of the UEA and Harvard study, men should be warned not to drink large amounts of red wine, as lead researcher Prof Aedin Cassidy of UEA advised that, “In terms of quantities, we’re talking just a few portions a week.”
This study, “Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction” is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.