People who have erectile dysfunction are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke, but eating a Mediterranean diet can reduce that risk, says a study.
The Mediterranean diet is characterised by daily consumption of fruit, vegetables, unrefined cereals and pasta, olive oil and nuts.
"Our findings suggest that adopting the Mediterranean diet can improve the cardiovascular risk profile of patients with erectile dysfunction and may reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke," said Athanasios Angelis, a doctor in Greece.
Erectile dysfunction patients with poor diets have more vascular and cardiac damage.
"Erectile dysfunction is not a symptom of ageing, it is a bad sign from the body that something is wrong with the vasculature. In 80% of cases erectile dysfunction is caused by vascular problems and is a warning that patients are at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke," Angelis explained.
The study included 75 men with erectile dysfunction, aged 56 years on average, who attended Hippokration Hospital in Athens, Greece.
The researchers found that a lower adherence to the Mediterranean diet correlated with significantly worse vascular and heart function.
The findings were presented at the ongoing EuroEcho-Imaging 2014, the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), in Vienna, Austria.