The Mediterranean diet, which has been proven to prevent obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases may also help decrease sexual dysfunction in individuals with diabetes, according to a study in the June issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Doctors at the University of Naples sought to assess the relation between diet and sexual dysfunction in individuals suffering with diabetes, no other reported studies have assessed the relation between the two.
In men, the study found a positive association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and the International Index of Erectile Function score, meaning men with the highest adherence to the diet had the lowest prevalence of erectile dysfunction and were more likely to be sexually active. In women, they found a positive association between adherence to the diet and the Female Sexual Function Index score, meaning women with the highest adherence to the diet had the lowest prevalence of sexual dysfunction.
Doctors analyzed semi-quantitative survey data from 555 men and 595 women who were diagnosed with diabetes. The individuals selected for the study had been diagnosed with diabetes for at least six months, but no longer than 10 years, ages 35-70, with a body mass index of 24 or higher. The men and women completed diet and sexual function surveys at the beginning of the study and again one month later.
“Diet is the cornerstone of any diabetes therapy, this study shows that diet also plays an important role in sexual health,” said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital and editor-in-chief of
The Journal of Sexual Medicine. “We’re excited about the positive results of the study and hope the correlation calls for more interest in the topic.”
The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, nuts, cereals and fish, with olive oil as the primary source of monounsaturated fat. The diet has also been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.