We all know that those Mediterraneans have it pretty good – nice weather, good food, relaxed lifestyle, lovely countryside, etc, etc, ad nauseam. Well, it’s not news that a major factor behind why the locals seem to have long, relatively disease-free lives is largely a result of their diet: lots of unsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil), fish, nuts and so on.
An article cited on Twitter recently caught my eye, as it would appear that scientists (yep, them again) have shown that said diet can also significantly improve erectile dysfunction.
Actually, this is also not surprising. Systemic damage to the vasculature is exactly that – if you have managed to screw up your arteries and veins in your heart and brain, there’s no reason why the same damage hasn’t been done to the rather more delicate issues located elsewhere. However, what got me thinking was how this study was run… Think about it, and then tell me honestly how you think the experiment was conducted…? 😉
A little research on PubMed pulled up another scientist who quite clearly chose a much more interesting field of study than mine ever was – take a bow, Katherine Esposito of the University of Naples, who published this in 2006:
Esposito K, et al. Mediterranean diet improves erectile function in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. Int J Impot Res 2006;18(4):405-10.
Men with the metabolic syndrome demonstrate an increased prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED). In the present study, we tested the effect of a Mediterranean-style diet on ED in men with the metabolic syndrome. Men were identified in our database of subjects participating in controlled trials evaluating the effect of lifestyle changes and were included if they had a diagnosis of ED associated with a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, complete follow-up in the study trial, and intervention focused mainly on dietary changes. Sixty-five men with the metabolic syndrome met the inclusion/exclusion criteria; 35 out of them were assigned to the Mediterranean-style diet and 30 to the control diet. After 2 years, men on the Mediterranean diet consumed more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grain, and olive oil as compared with men on the control diet. Endothelial function score and inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein) improved in the intervention group, but remained stable in the control group. There were 13 men in the intervention group and two in the control group (P=0.015) that reported an IIEF score of 22 or higher. Mediterranean-style diet rich in whole grain, fruits, vegetables, legumes, walnut, and olive oil might be effective per se in reducing the prevalence of ED in men with the metabolic syndrome.
Turns out Dr Esposito didn’t feed a bunch of fat blokes olive oil and garlic, show them porn and then whip out a tape measure… The participants stuck to a diet and then ‘self-reported their sexual performance’ using the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire. Not quite as fun, I’m sure you’ll agree.
My suggestion for Dr Esposito’s next study is to determine whether there is a direct inverse correlation between increased sexual performance following adherence to a Mediterranean diet including lots of stinky garlic, and the number of opportunities to make use of that increased performance… 😉
>For anyone thinking that science (specifically psychology) is a bit dull, you’ve clearly been reading the wrong journals… Take this particularly pleasing example:
Yes, you read that right:
“To test the effect of a woman’s bust size on the rate of help offered, 1200 male and female French motorists were tested in a hitchhiking situation. A 20-yr.-old female confederate wore a bra which permitted variation in the size of cup to vary her breast size. She stood by the side of a road frequented by hitchhikers and held out her thumb to catch a ride. Increasing the bra-size of the female-hitchhiker was significantly associated with an increase in number of male drivers, but not female drivers, who stopped to offer a ride.”
I have to tip my hat to Dr Guéguen; having looked through some of his (I assume that it is a ‘he’, although I realize that is based purely on the fact that I would have loved to have done the research myself) other published articles, he has been able to get funding for some truly original fieldwork, albeit with entirely predictable outcomes:
- Gueguen N. The receptivity of women to courtship solicitation across the menstrual cycle: a field experiment. Biol Psychol 2009;80(3):321-4. “It was found that women in their fertile phase, but not pill-users, agreed more favorably to the request than women in their luteal phase or in their menstrual phase”
- Guéguen N, et al. Sound level of environmental music and drinking behavior: a field experiment with beer drinkers. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2008;32(10):1795-8. “High level volume led to increased alcohol consumption and reduced the average amount of time spent by the patrons to drink their glass”
- Guéguen N, et al. Women’s eye contact and men’s later interest: two field experiments. Percept Mot Skills 2008;106(1):63-6. “Longer duration of eye contact was associated with an increase of smiling.”
- Gueguen N. Women’s bust size and men’s courtship solicitation. Body Image 2007;4(4):386-90. “It was found that increasing the breast size of the female confederate was associated with an increasing number of approaches by men.”
So, in summary, the inevitable conclusion is that success in any number of life’s trials and tribulations for women can be made significantly more likely by purchasing an inflatable bra now available from all good retailers… 😉
PS: Just spotted a fantastic quote in that last link: “”We predict women all over the UK will be storing these in their desk drawers ready for the mistletoe moment with the office hunk. Plus they’re easily and quickly deflated when Nigel from Accounts approaches after a few glasses of mulled wine.”