Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of underlying health problems and sufferers of ED could reap cardiovascular health benefits from sticking to the Mediterranean diet, according to Greek researchers.
According to study author Dr. Athanasios Angelis, 80 percent of ED cases are caused by vascular problems and the condition comes as a warning that patients are at increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Using the Med-Diet Score1 system, researchers assessed the level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet among a participant group of 75 men with ED, whose average age was 56.
The two telltale aspects of vascular disease, also called atherosclerosis, are the accumulation of plaque in the inner lining of the arteries and an abnormal stiffness of the arteries. The men were evaluated for both of these conditions.
Scoring low on the Med-Diet Score1 test correlated with considerably inferior vascular and heart function.
Those participants who scored poorly had thicker arterial lining, more stiffness in the aorta, increased left ventricular mass and greater diastolic dysfunction than those who scored well.
The Mediterranean diet consists of fruit, vegetables, unrefined cereals and pasta, olive oil and nuts with limited servings of meat and dairy products.
Dr. Angelis points out simple changes in the diet that can make a difference, such as using olive oil that contains monosaturated fat instead of oil that's made of polyunsaturated fat.
He presented his findings at EuroEcho-Imaging, the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovasular Imaging (EACVI) on Wednesday in Vienna, Austria.
Dr. Angelis' findings coincide with the release of a study led by Immaculata De Vivo, associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School, that says the Mediterranean diet could help people to live longer.
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