Men with erectile dysfunction may gain cardioprotective benefits by switching to a Mediterranean-style diet, researchers found.
In a small study reported at the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging meeting in Vienna, men with erectile dysfunction who had a lower Mediterranean diet score had significantly worse vascular and heart function as measured by cardiac ultrasound, according to Athanasios Angelis, MD, of Hippokration Hospital at the University of Athens, and colleagues.
“Patients with erectile dysfunction who had unhealthy diets had more vascular and cardiac damage than those who followed the Mediterranean diet,” Angelis said in a statement. “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.”
They added that the findings suggest adopting a Mediterranean style of eating — a focus on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, and fish — may “improve the cardiovascular risk profile of patients with erectile dysfunction and may reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke,” although they acknowledge this needs to be confirmed in larger studies.