Gut bacteria and flavonoids improve blood pressure levels
- Flavonoids found in plants such as berries, apples, tea, (wine)[*] and dark chocolate are known to offer health benefits, including some protective effects on the cardiovascular system.
- A study of 900 adults in Germany evaluated the quantity and frequency of eating flavonoid-rich foods and measured bacteria in the gut microbiome to determine if there was an association with blood pressure levels.
- Researchers determined the participants who consumed higher levels of berries, apples, pears and wine had lower systolic blood pressure levels, which was explained in part by bacteria in their gut microbiome.
The analysis of regular flavonoid intake with gut microbiome and blood pressure levels found:
- 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% 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 = 80g/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.
- Drinking 2.8 glasses (125 ml of wine per glass) of red wine a week was associated with an average of 3.7 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure level, of which 15% could be explained by the gut microbiome.
[*] wine and all alcoholic drinks cannot be considered healthy per se
See the Alcohol topic over at Nutritionfacts.org or jump to > Is It Better to Drink a Little Alcohol than None at All?