According to a recent study, foods rich in flavonoids, such as berries, apples, pears and wine, may have a positive effect on blood pressure regulation – this is partially due to the intestinal microbiome.
“Our gut microbiota plays a key role in flavonoid metabolism to enhance cardioprotective effects. This study provides evidence to suggest that these effects are achievable with simple changes in daily diet”, says researcher Aedín Cassidy, from Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, lead author of the study published on Monday (23) in the scientific journal Hypertension, cited by medical news site Medical Xpress.
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Flavonoids are bioactive compounds found naturally in fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods such as tea, chocolate and wine, and their health benefits have been proven by extensive research.
As the specialized website shows, scientists already knew that there was a link between the intestinal microbiota, microorganisms in the digestive tract and cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the current study, scientists examined the association between intake of flavonoid-rich foods, blood pressure, and gut microbiota diversity. It was also investigated whether bacterial variation could explain the association between the nutrient present in red fruits and hypertension control.
about the study
According to Medical Xpress. The research evaluated data from 904 adults aged between 25 and 82 years (57% men), who participated in the PopGen biobank, in Germany. In addition to food consumption, gut microbiome and blood pressure, participants were analyzed for other clinical and molecular factors in regular follow-up examinations.
Flavonoid consumption during the previous year was calculated from a self-reported questionnaire by the participants, with details of frequency and quantity of 112 foods eaten.
The intestinal microbiome of the volunteers was evaluated by analyzing bacterial DNA extracted from stool samples. After an overnight fast, participants’ blood pressure levels were measured three times at three-minute intervals after an initial five-minute rest period.
The researchers also collected information about the participants’ lifestyles, including gender, age, smoking, medication use and physical activity, as well as family history of coronary artery disease, number of daily calories and fiber consumed, and the Body Mass Index. (BMI) of each.
Scientists have discovered the following relationships between regular flavonoid intake, gut microbiome, and blood pressure levels:
Higher consumption of flavonoid-rich foods, including berries, red wine, apples and pears, had lower systolic (heart pumping blood) blood pressure levels
Up to 15.2% of the benefits of flavonoids for the regulation of systolic pressure were associated with the diversity of the intestinal microbiome of the participants
Eating 126 g of berries a day (one and a half cups) was associated with an average reduction in systolic blood pressure levels of 4.1 mmHg, with 12% of the benefits associated with gut microbiota
Drinking 125 ml of red wine per week was associated with an average reduction of 3.7 mmHg in systolic blood pressure, of which 15% can be explained by the intestinal microbiome
“Our results indicate that future studies should look at participants according to their metabolic profile, in order to more accurately study the roles of metabolism and the intestinal microbiome in regulating the effects of flavonoids on blood pressure”, comments Aedín Cassidy, cited above by Medical Xpress.
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