Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Disclosures: Cassidy reports receiving funding from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council with oversight from the USDA and serves as an adviser to the council’s grant committee. The other authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
August 23, 2021
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Flavonoid-rich foods confer BP benefits, partly explained by gut bacteria

Disclosures: Cassidy reports receiving funding from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council with oversight from the USDA and serves as an adviser to the council’s grant committee. The other authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Flavonoid-rich foods appear to have beneficial effects on BP, explained in part by gut microbiome characteristics, researchers reported in Hypertension.

Flavonoid-rich foods include berries, apples, pears and wine, according to a press release from the American Heart Association.

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Source: Adobe Stock

“Our gut microbiome plays a key role in metabolizing flavonoids to enhance their cardioprotective effects, and this study provides evidence to suggest these blood pressure-lowering effects are achievable with simple changes to the daily diet,” Aedín Cassidy, PhD, chair and professor in nutrition and preventive medicine at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said in the release.

The researchers analyzed 904 participants (age range, 25 to 82 years; 57% men) to determine any association between consumption of flavonoid-rich foods and BP, and sequenced gut microbiome composition in all participants.

Those in the highest tertile of flavonoid-rich food consumption had 2.9% lower systolic BP compared with those in the lowest tertile (95% CI, –5.1 to –0.7; P = .01), and the difference was even greater by consumption of the polymer subclass of flavonoid-rich foods, in which those in the highest tertile had 3.7 % lower systolic BP compared with those in the lowest tertile (95% CI, –5.4 to –1; P = .01), according to the researchers.

In analyses of specific food types, high intake of berries and red wine was associated with lower systolic BP and pulse pressure but not diastolic BP, and high intake of berries and apples/pears was associated with reduced Parabacteroides, the researchers wrote.

Microbial factors explained 15.2% of the association between flavonoid-rich foods and reduced systolic BP, Cassidy and colleagues wrote.

“Our findings indicate future trials should look at participants according to metabolic profile in order to more accurately study the roles of metabolism and the gut microbiome in regulating the effects of flavonoids on blood pressure,” Cassidy said in the release. “A better understanding of the highly individual variability of flavonoid metabolism could very well explain why some people have greater cardiovascular protection benefits from flavonoid-rich foods than others.”