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Flavonoid-rich food could improve your gut microbiome and lower your blood pressure

Sep 2, 2021

Flavonoids are compounds found in plant-based foods such as berries, chocolate, and tea.

A diet rich in flavonoid compounds is linked to lower blood pressure, a study has found, and the association is partly explained by an improved gut microbiome.

Flavonoids are compounds found in plants. Foods rich in flavonoids include vegetables, fruits such as apples, pears and berries, and chocolate, tea and wine. In the body, they act as antioxidants, and provide protection from ultraviolet rays. They are broken down by the gut microbiome.

“Our gut microbiome plays a key role in metabolising 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,” said Prof Aedín Cassidy at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, lead investigator of the study. The World Health Organization lists cardiovascular disease (CVD) as the leading cause of death worldwide in 2019. Previous research has reported differences in the composition of the gut microbiome between those with and without CVD, and that flavonoids may reduce the risk of heart disease.