Oven Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil Courtesy of Honest Cooking

A daily dose of extra virgin olive oil combined with lycopene from tomatoes improved the sex lives of a group of Spanish men, the Madrid Urological Institute reported.

In a study involving 40 men – aged above 50 and with mild to moderate degrees of erectile dysfunction – half of those with mild problems reported improved erections after taking 20ml of organic EVOO mixed with 8mg of tomato lycopene every day for three months, it said in a press release.

According to the institute’s director, urologist Dr. Juan Carlos Ruiz de la Roja, the scientific explanation is very simple. “Lycopene has been shown to have a vasodilatory effect due to the liberation of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow overall, including to the penis, thus improving erection.”

Ruiz de la Roja told Olive Oil Times that recent research had also shown that the antioxidant effect of the lycopene found in tomatoes played a protective role in relation to prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers in men.

Lycopene, a carotene, is also found in other red fruits and vegetables such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas. Its absorption into the blood from the digestive system is improved in the presence of oil, which is a key reason the EVOO was included.

Ruiz de la Roja said Aceiterol, a new product that combines EVOO with lycopene, was used in the study. The product maker, Dieta Mediterránea Aceites y Vinagres (Mediterranean Diet Olive Oils and Vinegars), had donated the Aceiterol but no financing for the study, which was privately funded by the institute, he said.

Once again, research had confirmed the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, he said.

The institute says that about 30 percent of men aged over 50 experience impotence.

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