Mediterranean Diet can help improve the heart and erections

mediterranean foodMen suffering with erectile dysfunction are often linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke, but adhering to a healthy Mediterranean diet can decrease this risk, according to a new study.

The Mediterranean diet has repeatedly been linked to huge health gains such as ideal for weight loss, reducing the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as being beneficial for the skin with various anti-aging boosts.

The diet is usually comprises of a daily consumption of plenty of fruit, vegetables, beans (legumes), grains, pasta, olive oil and nuts. It also contains moderate amounts of chicken and fish, with a small amount of red wine allowed as this has been shown to boost the health benefits of the diet, helping to thin the blood safely while providing its benefit through the antioxidant resveratrol.

Erectile dysfunction patients that have poor diets often have substantially more vascular and cardiac damage. Therefore, Grecian researchers wanted to conduct research to determine if the Mediterranean diet – touted as having cardiovascular benefits – could reduce the outcome of that risk, and explained their findings at the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging in Austria.

The study included 75 men with erectile dysfunction with an average age of 56. All had attended Hippokration Hospital in Athens, Greece – thereby having a bigger access to Mediterranean food than most – and had been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.

Grecian doctor Dr. Athanasios Angelis, involved in the study, commented in a press release: “Erectile dysfunction is not a symptom of aging. It is a bad sign from the body that something is wrong with the vasculature. In 80 percent of cases erectile dysfunction is caused by vascular problems, and is a warning that patients are at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

It was discovered that those patients that were not sticking to a Mediterranean diet had hearts and vascular systems in a poorer condition in comparison to those that often consumed foods from the diet on a regular basis.

Dr Angelis added: “Patients with erectile dysfunction who had unhealthy diets had more vascular and cardiac damage than those who followed the Mediterranean diet. Previous studies have shown that patients with erectile dysfunction have vascular damage but we found that the heart is also damaged. This may help to further explain why these patients are more prone to cardiovascular events. The formation of atheroma, the stiffening of the arteries, and the poor functioning of the heart can eventually lead to a cardiac event.”

“Our findings suggest that adopting the Mediterranean diet can improve the cardiovascular risk profile of patients with erectile dysfunction and may reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke. This needs to be tested in a larger study.”

Dr Angelis also offered advice for those on a lower budget, saying: “Really simple changes in our diet may help a lot, for example using olive oil which contains monounsaturated fat. If someone doesn’t have the money to buy some of the foods they can substitute them with others, for example nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fat. Sometimes it’s difficult to adopt something if you consider that it’s part of a prescription, but the Mediterranean diet is not a prescription, it’s a lifestyle. It’s about having an awareness of what foods are healthy or unhealthy.”

He concluded: “Patients who have erectile dysfunction and don’t adhere to the Mediterranean diet have vascular and cardiac damage and are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Our findings suggest that adopting a healthy diet can reduce that risk. We also advise patients to stop smoking, exercise and ensure that they have healthy levels of blood pressure and lipids.”

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