Food, Your Gut and Lower Blood Pressure – What’s the Connection?
Cardiovascular disease remains the world’s number one cause of death. With World Heart Day just around the corner on September 29th, new research points to the beneficial effects of flavonoid-rich foods on blood pressure.
A study just released reveals a link between flavonoids and the gut microbiome in improving blood pressure.
Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland found that consuming higher levels of flavonoid rich foods including berries, apples, pears, and red wine may be associated with a reduction in blood pressure levels. This can be explained in part by the characteristics of the gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome are the good bacteria that live in the digestive tracts. The gut microbiome has been studied for its role in gut health, immunity and behavior and now heart health can be added to the list! There is mounting evidence to the importance of a healthy and diverse gut microbiome. This research suggests that the composition of the gut microbiome can play a key role in metabolizing flavonoids to enhance their benefits on heart health.
This study looked at over 900 adults and was published in Hypertension, the scientific journal of the American Heart Association. Those who had the highest intakes of flavonoid-rich foods had lower systolic blood pressure levels as well as a greater variety of bacteria in their gut compared to participants who consumed the lowest levels of flavonoids.
Lead researcher, Professor Aedín Cassidy explains that ‘These blood pressure lowering effects are achievable with simple changes to the daily diet. Eating 160 g of berries a day (which is about 1 cup sliced berries) was associated with a 4.1 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure, and 12% of the association was explained by gut microbiome factors. Drinking 700 mL red wine per week (which is about one glass of red wine 3 times a week, where a glass is 233 ml), was associated with a 3.7 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure levels, of which 15% could be explained by the gut microbiome.’
Researchers say that the ‘strength of their study was that they could examine the association between the intake of flavonoid rich foods, blood pressure and the composition of the microbiome concurrently.’
Are you interested in leveraging World Heart Day for your business? Check out their 2021 playbook for information and ideas. Let’s connect to help make a difference.
- Jennings A, Koch M, Bang C, Franke A, Lieb W, Cassidy A. Microbial Diversity and Abundance of Parabacteroides Mediate the Associations Between Higher Intake of Flavonoid-Rich Foods and Lower Blood Pressure. Hypertension. 0(0):HYPERTENSIONAHA.121.17441. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.121.17441
- Aedín Cassidy, direct professional communication, September 13, 2021
- World Heart Federation Playbook https://world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/06/WHF7326_21_Public_Playbook_2021.pdf