Erectile dysfunction is a distressing condition that many men face in their lifetime. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your risk naturally.

It's estimated that around 30 million men in the United States have erectile dysfunction, which is defined as the inability to achieve an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Although men over 60 are at greatest risk, it can occur at any age. Prescription medications are the most obvious answer to this condition, but as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, there are several ways to reduce your risk of becoming impotent. Eating a flavonoid-rich diet is one of these ways.

Studies Show That Flavonoids Help Erectile Dysfunction

Eat Flavonoid-Rich Fruits to Reduce Risk of Erectile DysfunctionFlavonoids are a group of naturally-occurring compounds found in plants. In plants, they serve the purpose of providing color to attract pollinators, as well as serving several different chemical roles, such as UV filtration. Flavonoids have been shown to have several health effects, including an antioxidant effect, anti-inflammatory effect, and providing benefits to cardiovascular health. Recent research also has shown that a flavonoid-rich diet can decrease a man's risk of developing erectile dysfunction. 

It has already been known for some time that flavonoid-rich foods reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. However, a new study has shown that eating foods including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, citrus fruits, cherries, radishes, black currants, red wine, apples, pears, dark chocolate and even some herbs will reduce your risk of impotence by 14 percent on average. This percentage goes up to 21 percent, or more than one-fifth, when the flavonoid-rich diet is combined with regular exercise. As this study analyzed more than 50,000 men, quite a large sample size, and factors like smoking were controlled for, the causation theory of flavonoids leading to reduced erectile dysfunction risk is a reliable one.

Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction

However, being overweight or obese increases your risk of erectile dysfunction. For this reason, it's important to add flavonoid-rich foods to your diet without over-eating. You can do this by replacing foods you normally eat with flavonoid-rich foods, rather than eating your regular food with more flavonoid-rich food on the side. For example, you can switch out your evening beer for red wine, have just a square of dark chocolate for dessert, and snack on fruits during the day instead of things like cheese and crackers. Snacking on fruits instead of traditional "snack foods" also has the added benefit of helping you lose weight, because the fiber in fruit makes it more filling for the amount of calories it has. To give an example, a handful of potato chips and a large orange have roughly the same amount of calories, but the orange will fill you up more while also providing  your body with more nutrients.

Other Remedies That Can Help

If you already have erectile dysfunction, your best bet is to take a prescription medication for it. However, if you're interested in reducing your risk of developing it in the future, there are several things you can do. Get regular exercise, eat a healthful diet rich in flavonoids, avoid being overweight or obese, maintain a low blood pressure, and avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. Supplements such as DHEA and L-arginine may also help maintain healthy blood flow, lessening your risk further. However, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements.

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