Two Hard Facts: Eat Less Meat, More Berries, Reduce Your Risk of Erectile Dysfunction


Seriously? This guy’s problem goes way beyond ED. I suffer from it (at 73, what’s to be surprised about!).
but my 50-year-old wife and I do ‘fine’, thank you very much!

Adding more fruit to your diet reduces your risk for erectile dysfunction (ED), according to a study published last month (Jan. 2016) in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers (from the Department of Nutrition, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom; Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA; and Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA) followed the diets of 25,096 men as part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and monitored incidence for erectile dysfunction. Participants rated their erectile function in 2000 (with historical reporting from 1986) and again in 2004 and 2008. During 10 years of follow-up, 35.6% reported incidents of ED. Those with the highest intakes of anthocyanins, flavones, and flavanones, phytonutrients found in fruit, lowered their risk for erectile dysfunction by 14 percent when compared to those who consumed the least. Common sources for these flavonoids include strawberries, apples, blueberries, and citrus fruits. Researchers suspect a diet rich in fruits coupled with other healthful lifestyle factors aids prevention and early treatment of cardiovascular disease by improving vascular conditions. Erectile dysfunction is typically an indicator of narrowed arteries, the same disease process that causes coronary heart disease. A leading cause of narrowed arteries, as pointed out in a YouTube video by Dr. Neal Barnard, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (see his blog at, is meat. “Bacon, burgers and chicken wings, they narrow your arteries. And that means, not enough blood flow downstairs, where it counts,” he says. His video is called ED: It’s not you, it’s meat!”

The latter isn’t a new message – the one about narrowed arteries, the leading cause of heart disease: It’s been being preached by medical professionals for some years, and it’s actually having an effect on red meat consumption.

Another, somewhat  related issue with red meat is the fact that its captive producers – cattle, for the most part – are fed huge quantities of antibiotics and growth enhancers to speed their journey along the path from birth to kill-weight – one to two years, compared to a cow’s natural life span of 25-30 years.

(See my post on that and the mistreatment of farmed animals at

An increasing number of specialty farms are offering shop-on-sight and even mail-order options for, for example, beef, pork and lamb products that are totally grass-fed in an environment where, as one such farm’s web site notes, the animals are “free to roam and graze.”  But they are, largely because they devoting more raising-time to each animal, anything but cheap.

A limited selection of such outlets is available at the website of, one of a growing number of organizations representing, in any of several ways, the interests of ‘organic’ and other ‘natural’ producers of animal-based foods. Spotty and fairly unreliable (in terms of quantity) providers of more-purely-produced animal products – including farm-fresh eggs, which bear no resemblance to the often-months-old ones found in supermarkets – can be found through Google for Amish or Mennonite stores (or variations on that theme). When I lived closer to him, I was once fortunate enough to become aware that a nearby Amish farmer was about to sell some of the chickens he’d grown. I paid $9 for a pretty good sized one, cleaned and cut up (not dressed) and nicely packaged, all set for selected pieces to be frozen and others to be cooked that very day. That and the other birds for sale had been humanely slaughtered a work-filled day before the sale, and ours provided a taste treat no supermarket bird could come close to.

I know two fairly local farmers who sell eggs – eggs that redefine ‘fresh’. And because there are no middlemen or shipping costs, they cost about the same, within a few dimes, of the questionable-quality ones your local food store offers.

But I digress.

Another, even more impressive website that encourages less processed foodstuffs is Search by your state or province, if you’re in Canada.

They have some interesting choices.