Red Wine, Berries, and Citrus May Help Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

Research from the Harvard School of Public Health says flavonoid-rich foods cut risk.

Guys, it’s time to swap Viagra for vino.

So says a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), which suggests that just a few servings per week of flavonoid-rich foods such as red wine, berries, and citrus fruits may help men avoid erectile dysfunction (ED). Physical activity, in conjunction with consumption of flavonoids, also seemed to help.

HSPH researchers tracked intake of flavonoids—compounds synthesized by plants that are shown to carry health benefits ranging from high antioxidant levels to disease prevention—and ED incidence in more than 25,000 men. They found that men eating the most flavonoids were roughly 10 percent less likely to to have ED than men eating the least flavonoids. Men eating lots of flavonoids and exercising regularly saw a 21 percent drop in risk.

Anthocyanins, flavanones, and flavones, three sub-types of flavonoids, were found to make the most impact. Those are found in berries, red wine, citrus fruits, cherries, apples, and pears, among other foods. Previous studies have also shown that caffeine may help ease ED.

The researchers also noted in the study that ED is often an indicator for larger health issues, such as heart disease, so it’s a good idea to make any lifestyle changes that could help prevent it. “ED provides an opportunity for early intervention for the prevention of [cardiovascular disease] and represents an opportunity for the early identification of risk factors that are modifiable with lifestyle, particularly in middle-aged men,” they wrote.

Go ahead, order that glass of Merlot with dinner—especially on date night.