Flavanol-rich diet may lower blood pressure


Individuals who consume a diet with flavanol-rich foods and beverages, including tea, berries and apples, can lead to lower blood pressure, according to the first study using objective measures of tens of thousands of UK residents’ diets.

Studied the diet of more than 25,000 individuals in Norfolk, UK and compared what they ate with their blood pressure. Compared to most other studies investigating links between nutrition and health, the researchers did not rely on research participants reporting their diet, but rather quantified flavanol-rich foods and beverages intake objectively using nutritional biomarkers – signs of dietary intake, nutritional or metabolic status which are present in our bloodstream.

The difference in blood pressure between people with the lowest 10% of flavanol-rich foods and beverages ingestion and those with the highest 10% of intake was between 2 and 4 mmHg. Especially, the effect was more pronounced in participants who have hypertension.

“Previous studies of large populations have always relied on self-reported data to draw conclusions, but this is the first epidemiological study of this scale to objectively investigate the association between a specific bioactive compound and health. We are delighted to see that in our study, there was also a meaningful and significant association between flavanol consumption and lower blood pressure.”

“What this study gives us is an objective finding about the association between flavanols – found in tea and some fruits – and blood pressure. This research confirms the results from previous dietary intervention studies and shows that the same results can be achieved with a habitual diet rich in flavanols. In the British diet, the main sources are tea, cocoa, apples and berries.”

“The plan of the study is of equivalent significance. This is one of The biggest ever studies to utilize nutritional biomarkers to investigate bioactive compounds. Using nutrient biomarkers to estimate ingestion of bioactive food compounds has long been viewed as the golden standard for research, as it allows intake to be quantified objectively. The development, validation and application of this biomarker was only possible due to the long-term commitment of all collaborators. Compared to self-reported dietary data, nutritional biomarkers can deal with massive variability in food composition. We can therefore confidently attribute the institutions we observed to flavanol intake.”

This implies if the general public increased its flavanol intake, there could be an overall reduction in cardiovascular disease incidence.

Hagen Schroeter, Chief Science Officer at Mars Edge, said:

“This study adds key insights to a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of dietary flavanols in health and nutrition. But, perhaps even more exciting was the opportunity to apply objective biomarkers of flavanol intake at a large scale. This enabled the team to avoid the significant limitations that come with past approaches which rely on estimating intake based on self-reported food consumption data and the shortcomings of current food composition databases.”

Related Journal Article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-74863-7




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