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High Phenolic Acid Intake Associated with Improved Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. A recent study suggests that eating more foods containing phenolic acids (also known as polyphenols) may help improve high blood pressure levels.


Participants in the study included 2,044 Sicilian people who filled out a validated food frequency questionnaire. The researchers used the Phenol-Explorer database to determine the phenolic acid content of the foods. The participants were split into four equal groups, based on total phenolic acid intake, and were correlated for blood pressure.


After adjusting for intake of other minerals that can affect blood pressure, such as magnesium and sodium, the researchers found that participants with the highest intakes (median 522 milligrams per day) of phenolic acid had a 32% reduction in high blood pressure.


When the researchers examined specific phenolic acids, they found that only hydroxyphenylacetic acid was inversely associated with high blood pressure, when comparing the highest quartile to the lowest. However, they did find that hydoxycinnamic and hydroxyphenylacetic acids were inversely associated with hypertension in women, but not men, and that caffeic acid was inversely associated with men, but not women.


The researchers also looked at coffee, nuts, tea, olive, red wine, white wine, and beer. They found that only beer was significantly associated with lower risk of hypertension.


Researchers from the University of Catania in Italy conducted the study. It was published on September 27, 2017, in the journal Nutrients.


Polyphenol intake has been linked with a variety of health benefits, including helping with weight management and reducing inflammation. Polyphenols can be found naturally in many foods, including honey, a variety of fruits and vegetables, red wine, chocolate, tea, certain oils and many types of grain.

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