Wellness

Italian Food Can Cure Impotence, Italian Professor Says

06/10/2015 05:53pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017

Ever wonder how Tony Soprano managed to be so ... virile? Over the six seasons of "The Sopranos," he never let the stress of his life as a mob boss get in the way of his pursuit of all sorts of goomahs, not to mention time with his wife Carmella.

Maybe the secret to his stamina was on his dinner plate. At a recent conference on men's health in Naples, Italy, Giorgio Franco, the president of the Italian Society of Andrology, argued that a "strict Italian diet" is a highly effective cure for erectile dysfunction.

Good sex starts at the table,” Franco said, according to The Local. “Statistics show that Italian people eat well. Our obesity rate is one of the lowest in the developed world.”

Franco didn't exactly mean that a big bowl of fettuccine alfredo works as a substitute for Viagra in a pinch. Rather, he explained that Mediterranean diets can promote vascular health and reduce obesity, which many scientists believe help combat erectile dysfunction.

He's on solid scientific ground here. Studies have found in the past that Mediterranean diets -- which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, lean protein and whole grains -- can help fight erectile dysfunction in older men. And more generally, it's been proven that obesity is a serious risk factor for erectile dysfunction.

Further evidence of Franco's conclusions? Italy has lower rates of both obesity and erectile dysfunction than many other countries in the developed world.

So if you want to try out this idea, where should you start? Maybe by eating what Italian men say is their favorite aphrodisiac: salami. Though not too much, of course.

#1: DeLallo
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
100% organic -- Made in Italy 100% whole grain (20 grams or more per serving) 10 minutes Organic whole wheat semolina "Soft, chewy texture with no discernible wheat flavor or texture." "This just tastes like white pasta." "I didn't mind this. It's neutral and thick." "Neutral flavor, acceptable texture." "Very mild flavor."
#2: Barilla
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Whole grain made with 51% whole wheat -- Product of USA 28g or more per serving 6-7 minutes Whole grain durum wheat flour, semolina (wheat), durum wheat flour, oat fiber. "This could be passable as regular pasta." "Nondescript." "Close to regular pasta in flavor and texture." "Good, apart from the extreme thinness." "Nice size, good mild flavor. Would be great with just olive oil."
#3: Barilla Plus
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Multigrain pasta -- Product of USA Enriched 10-11 minutes Semolina, grain and legume flour blend [grains and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, barley, spelt, oats), egg whites, oat fiber], durum flour, niacin, iron (ferrous sulfate), thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid. "I can't really tell the difference between this and regular pasta." "There's a strong aftertaste here, and it's very slippery." "This is like regular pasta, not whole wheat." "Good taste, but too thin for me." "Tastes like white flour pasta but has an odd cereal aftertaste. Love the thickness though."
#4: DeBoles
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Organic whole wheat plus golden flax angel hair -- Product of USA A good source of whole grain, but not 100% whole grain 10-12 minutes Organic whole wheat durum flour, organic cold-milled flax seed, organic jerusalem artichoke flour. "Slippery, moist, and neutral-flavored." "Absolutely fine." "Looks like regular pasta, but tastes a little like whole wheat." "Reminiscent of ramen." "Mild, with a nice authentic texture."
#5: 365 Everyday Value
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti -- Product of Italy 100% whole grain 10-12 minutes 100% organic durum whole wheat flour "Palatable, but a little rubbery." "Is this even whole wheat?" "Slightly mealy texture." "Quite bland, with a bitter aftertaste." "Chewy texture."
#6: Gia Russa
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
100% whole wheat macaroni product -- Product of Italy 100% whole grain (55g or more per serving) 9 minutes 100% whole durum wheat flour "Pleasant texture, but a slightly bitter flavor." "I'd maybe buy this." "Grassy flavor." "Tastes like real spaghetti!" "Way too thick for me."
#7: Bionaturae
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
USDA organic -- Made in Italy 100% whole grain 11 minutes Organic whole durum wheat flour "This contains the wheat flavor that I was hoping to avoid." "Not much flavor -- this needs a strong tomato sauce, for sure." "Tastes cinnamon-y and kind of pasty." "A little gritty." "A very strong, wheat flavor."
#8: De Cecco
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Enriched whole wheat spaghetti -- Product of Italy Enriched 10 minutes Whole semolina from (wheat), niacin, ferrous lactate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid. "Too stiff for me." "Serve with bolognese and we're in business." "Pasty, gritty and bitter." "Perfectly fine. Relatively robust taste."
#9: Ronzoni
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Healthy harvest whole grain -- Product of USA 54% whole wheat, 30g whole grain 9-11 minutes Durum whole wheat flour and semolina blend, wheat fiber, thiamin mononitrate, niacin, riboflavin, iron (ferrous sulfate), folic acid. "Bitter!" "Not great, but sauce could hide its sins." "Relatively neutral flavor, but pasty." "Slightly rough texture." "Not terrible, but not a pleasant experience."
#10: Rienzi
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Enriched whole wheat macaroni product -- Product of Italy Enriched 8 minutes 100% enriched semolina (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid). "There's a strong flavor of cinnamon or nutmeg." "Cinnamon-y!" "Tastes like pumpkin pie." "Weird cinnamon toast flavor." "Oddly, this has a sweet taste."
#11: Bella Terra
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
100% organic 8 whole grain pasta with sprouted wheatgrass -- Product of Italy 50g or more per serving 4 minutes Organic 100% whole wheat, organic whole grain rye, organic whole grain buckwheat, organic whole grain kamut, organic whole grain spelt, organic whole grain millet, organic whole grain barley, organic whole grain brown rice, organic wheatgrass juice. "This doesn't bend -- it just breaks. There's no twirl factor." "Mushy." "The noodles broke and it's got a gritty finish." "Much too thin, with a pronounced woody taste." "Does not hold up -- it breaks into tiny pieces."
#12: Jovial
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Einkorn Pasta -- Product of Italy 100% organic whole grain 10 minutes Organic whole grain einkorn, water. "I immediately wanted to spit this out. It's mealy." "Good texture, but intense wheat taste." "Tastes slightly woody." "A bran flavor predominates."
#13: Ezekiel 4:9
Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
Sprouted Grain Pasta -- "The Next Level of Whole Grains" -- Product of USA 100% whole grain (16g or more per serving) 4-5 minutes Organic sprouted whole grain wheat, organic sprouted whole grain barley, organic sprouted whole grain millet, organic sprouted whole lentils, organic sprouted whole soybeans, organic sprouted whole grain spelt. "This snaps right in half and tastes the way Iams dog food smells!" "Awful texture -- worse taste." "Revolting." "Like tree bark." "I had to spit this out. So, so bad."
WATCH: How To Choose Healthier Pasta
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