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Polyphenols Help Lower Blood Pressure for Mature Adults

Consuming foods high in polyphenols may help mature adults avoid hypertension (high blood pressure) according to a new study published in the April 2011 issue of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease.

Polyphenols are the powerful antioxidants found in plant foods, tea, coffee and chocolate. They have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Researchers at several Spanish universities recruited nearly 600 mostly overweight participants aged 55 or older for the study. The participants also had various risk factors for cardiovascular disease. 33% were diabetics, 81% were hypertensive and 16% were active smokers.

The participants were all given a 136 item food frequency questionnaire. Their total urinary excretion of polyphenols was also measured.

The researchers found that 3.5 ounces of fruits and vegetables provided more polyphenols than 3.5 ounces of coffee or 3.5 ounces of wine. Most importantly they also found that those with the highest intakes of polyphenols had a 36% reduction in hypertension.

This study adds yet another layer of evidence backing the benefits of these powerful antioxidants. Previous studies have suggested that polyphenols may help lower cardiovascular disease risk and aid in weight management.

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