Men with erectile dysfunction who consumed pistachios daily as part of their normal diet for three weeks experienced a significant improvement on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores, according to a new study. Levels of three cholesterol values also improved after the pistachio diet.
The investigators enrolled 17 married men who had had erectile dysfunction for at least 12 months and who were not taking medications for erectile dysfunction. All the men consumed 100 grams of pistachios during lunch each day for three weeks. The IIEF was taken before the pistachio diet was started and at the end of the three weeks.
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After three weeks on the pistachio diet, the IIEF scores increased significantly, from an average of 36 before the diet up to 54.2 after the diet. IIEF measures erectile function, satisfaction with sexual intercourse, orgasmic function, sexual desire, and overall satisfaction. Both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels decreased significantly while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels increased.
Erectile dysfunction is frequently accompanied by cardiovascular conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, and heart problems. Pistachio nuts are rich sources of antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids, which may protect the heart and cardiovascular system.
Pistachio nuts are also a very good source of the nonessential amino acid arginine, which seems to maintain flexible arteries and improve blood flow by enhancing the ability of nitric oxide to relax blood vessels. This activity, in turn, can improve erectile function. The authors also noted that serum testosterone levels decreased significantly after the men followed the pistachio diet. Pistachios contain phytosterol, and previous research in animals has shown that a high intake of phytosterols can reduce testosterone levels.
Overall, men who had had erectile dysfunction for at least one year experienced a significant improvement in erectile function parameters plus better cholesterol values after consuming pistachios daily for three weeks. None of the men had any side effects, and despite the additional calories consumed, none of the men gained weight during the study.
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