Obesity continues to be pandemic in the U.S. and is now spreading to the rest of the world. One likely reason this is happening is that people worldwide are consuming the so-called Western Diet, which is high in saturated fat, polyunsaturated fatty acids (this type of fat can be found in vegetable oil), and sugar.

Scientists have known for a very long time that this pattern of consumption, in addition to the weight gain that it causes, adds to a wide range of other health problems including erectile dysfunction (ED) and cardiovascular disease. Besides changing eating habits, scientists have found an effective way to avoid these health issues.

men exercise erectile dysfunctionSeeking for an answer, Christopher Wingard and his co-workers at Carolina University used rats put on an unhealthy diet to test how effective aerobic exercise is. The researchers discovered that exercise was very effective in improving erectile dysfunction and the function of blood vessels supplying blood to the heart.

Methodology

For twelve weeks, the rats were put on the Western diet, high in sugar and with half of its calories coming from fat. Another group of rats were fed a healthy normal diet instead. Half of the rats from each group worked out five days a week, running intervals on a treadmill.

At the end of the twelve weeks study, the rats were put to sleep and their erectile function was assessed by stimulating their cavernosal nerve electrically which caused an increase in blood flow to the penis producing an erection. The researchers also checked the rat’s coronary arteries to verify how they respond to a stimulus that would help them to be calm and maintain blood flow to the heart, a sign of heart health.

Results

The research demonstrated that rats who consumed the Western diet and was not physically active developed erectile dysfunction and their coronary arteries were not relaxed. Nonetheless, the rats who ate the diet but were physically active were able to avoid these health problems. The rats who ate the healthy diet  were, to a great extent, able to stave off both erectile dysfunction and coronary artery dysfunction.

Importance of the Findings

This research done may advise that being physically active could be an effective tool for battling the negative affects of the Western diet as long as the participants exercise over the course of consuming this type of diet.

Now whether exercising would still be effective in shifting any vascular problems after a lifetime of eating the Western diet is not known.

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