A new study conducted by experts at the University of East Anglia (UAE) in the U.K. and Harvard University, and published in the journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that flavonoid-rich berries could lower the risk of having an erectile dysfunction in men, reported Web MD on Wednesday.
The researchers focused on the commonly eaten flavonoids and their six main types, and singled out three particular types that are highly beneficial, particularly anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones.
"It's all about inadequate blood supply and impaired blood flow," said lead researcher Professor Aedín Cassidy from UEA, "and what's really interesting about the flavonoids is that there's clinical trial data and also lab data suggesting that they can improve blood pressure, they can improve blood flow, and make our arteries more flexible."
To facilitate the study, the researchers analyzed the data of 25,096 men enrolled in a U.S. health study in 2000, noted Medscape on Wednesday.
In the beginning of the study, the subjects were asked to evaluate and rate their ability to achieve sufficient erection for intercourse, and were asked to rate their erectile function once again in 2004 and 2008. They were also asked to rate their erectile function even in the past years, as far back as 1986.
The subjects were also tasked to keep track of their eating patterns every four years.
The study found that over 10 years, 35.6 percent of the subjects reported difficulty in getting an erection for the first time, but those who were noted to have a diet rich in anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones were less likely to develop the condition.
"When we looked at specific fruits, the greatest benefits were from berries, [which contain] flavonoids called anthocyanins that are responsible for that lovely blue-red color you get in berries and in aubergines," noted Cassidy.
"Just incorporating a few extra portions of fruit, particularly berries and citrus in the diet, will not only benefit your sexual health but in the longer term would offer protection against having a heart attack," she added.