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High Polyphenol Intake May Provide Heart Health Benefits

Polyphenols are micronutrients that occur naturally in plants and that are very high in antioxidants. A recent study suggests that higher intake of polyphenols may be associated with a decreased risk of plaque in the arteries.

Participants in the study included 2,318 men with an average age of 50. A food frequency questionnaire was used to evaluate total polyphenol intake and intake of subclasses of polyphenols including flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans. The presence of plaque in the carotid and femoral arteries was measured with ultrasound.

Participants with the highest intake of flavonoids (769 mg/d) had a 20% decreased risk of having plaque in the carotid and femoral arteries compared to those with the lowest intake (357 mg/d).  Participants with the highest intake of stilbenes (7.43 mg/d) had a 38% reduced risk of plaques in the femoral arteries compared to those with the lowest intake (1.9 mg/d).

The researchers found that every 100 mg/day intake of flavonoids was associated with a 4% reduced risk of plaque in the femoral arteries. Each 1 mg/day intake of stilbenes was associated with a 3% decreased risk of plaque in the femoral arteries.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. It was published online ahead of print on March 7, 2022 in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Coffee, which is high in polyphenols, was found to provide cardiovascular benefits in a previous study.

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