How berries lower blood pressure with help from gut bacteria

We discussed in. last week’s issue the benefits of berries. There was good news for people who enjoy berries, dark chocolate, and red wine this week. A new study that Medical News Today reported on investigated how powerful antioxidants in some foods and drinks — called flavonoids — may improve high blood pressure and why these compounds may affect some people more than others. 

As well as reducing high blood pressure, flavonoids may offer protection against heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. However, the beneficial effect of flavonoids on blood pressure varies among individuals, and now there is evidence that gut bacteria may, in part, explain these differences. 

Bacteria in the human gut break down flavonoids to release bioactive compounds that have a powerful protective effect on the heart. Researchers have found that people who consume the most flavonoids have a greater diversity of bacteria in their gut — and benefit from greater protection — than those with less diverse gut bacteria. 

If researchers can identify which bacteria are best at breaking down flavonoids into more powerful compounds, this may result in pre- or probiotic supplements that boost flavonoid metabolism in those who need it most.

But, until then, we’ll have to rely on eating more berries and dark chocolate and, perhaps, drinking a little red wine to enjoy the health benefits. 

For more information, read Berries may lower blood pressure with help from gut bacteria

Source: Tim Snaith, Newsletter Editor, Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com

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