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Only Certain Polyphenols May Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Study Suggests

A wealth of research has found an association between polyphenols and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a recent study suggests that three types of polyphenols in particular — anthocyanins, catechins, and flavonols — may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Participants in the study included 84,158 people who were part of the NutriNet-Santé French Cohort and completed at least three 24-hour dietary records between May 2009 and June 2017. Individual polyphenols intakes were obtained by matching food consumption data from the 24-hour dietary records with the Phenol-Explorer polyphenol composition database.


There were 602 major cardiovascular events during the median 4.9 years of follow-up. After examining the data, the researchers found that intakes of anthocyanins, catechins, and flavonols were strongly inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk. They found no significant association between flavones, flavanones, isoflavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, and lignans and cardiovascular disease risk.


Researchers from COMUE Sorbonne Paris Cité led the study. It was published on October 29, 2018, in Nutrients.


Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that give fruits and vegetables red, orange, blue, or purple color. Blueberries, cranberries and acai have particularly high levels of anthocyanins. Catechins can be found in green tea, red wine, apples, and berries. Foods high in flavonols include citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, tea, cooked greens and dark chocolate.

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