Blackcurrants have long been regarded as a super fruit, commonly renowned for their rich antioxidant content which has been proven time and again to help keep us healthy. According to new groundbreaking research, blackcurrants might even be beneficial for our health in ways previously unexplored: scientists in the US and UK have found that a diet rich in flavonoids, natural compounds found in fruit and vegetables, could dramatically reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction affects 322m men globally and, as well as being distressing to the individual, it’s also an early indicator of poor vascular function, a precursor of cardiovascular disease. Research published earlier this year has revealed that men who look after themselves, take physical activity and enjoy a diet rich in flavonoids (naturally occurring compounds in fruit and vegetables), are less likely to suffer erectile dysfunction.
The study, led by Professor Aedin Cassidy (University of East Anglia), assessed flavonoid intake in ~ 25,000 men over a 10 year period. Of the six main commonly consumed flavonoids that were examined, three were found to be beneficial; anthocyanins, flavanones and flavones – and men who regularly consumed foods high in these flavonoids were 10 per cent less likely to suffer erectile dysfunction. Blackcurrants contain the highest level of anthocyanins compared to blueberries, red wine, apples and citrus fruits.
The study highlights that those who take some physical activity and have a high flavonoid intake have a 21% lower risk than those with a combined low intake and physical activity. It was also found that overall the beneficial effects of these higher levels of flavonoid intake equate to two to five hours of brisk walking.
“Professor Cassidy and her colleagues have produced research based on a phenomenally large group of participants over many years. This study highlights that there are simple and enjoyable dietary routes to reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction: eat soft fruit and drink the associated juices”. Professor Derek Stewart of the James Hutton Institute in Scotland