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Gut bacteria and flavonoid-rich foods are linked and improve blood pressure levels
Flavonoid-rich foods, including berries, apples, pears and wine, appear to have a positive effect on blood pressure levels, an association that is partially explained by characteristics of the gut microbiome, according to new research published in Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal.
With increased research suggesting flavonoids may reduce heart disease risk, a new study assessed the role of the gut microbiome on the process. Researchers examined the association between eating flavonoid-rich foods with blood pressure and gut microbiome diversity. The study also investigated how much variance within the gut microbiome could explain the association between intake of flavonoid-rich foods and blood pressure.
Study participants who had the highest intake of flavonoid-rich foods, including berries, red wine, apples and pears, had lower systolic blood pressure levels, as well as greater diversity in their gut microbiome than the participants who consumed the lowest levels of flavonoid-rich foods.
Up to 15.2% of the association between flavonoid-rich foods and systolic blood pressure could be explained by the diversity found in participants’ gut microbiome.
Eating 1.6 servings of berries per day (one serving equals 80 grams, or 1 cup) was associated with an average reduction in systolic blood pressure levels of 4.1 mm Hg, and about 12% of the association was explained by gut microbiome factors.
“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”, said the researchers.