We always listen to our doctors for our medical care. Talking to our doctors and following their advice is hugely important to stay healthy. In addition to getting help from our doctors, we like to take charge of our health and wellness through our diet, exercise and lifestyle. It’s essential to manage your health daily!
That’s why a study saying that flavonoid-rich foods, like berries, can help lower blood pressure caught our attention. Researchers said flavonoids protect people against heart disease, blood sugar problems and cancer.They pointed out berries, dark chocolate and red wine are all rich in flavonoids. As red wine and chocolate are controversial as health foods, we say bring on the berries! The researchers themselves pointed out that alcohol has been linked to a heightened risk for stroke and other heart problems.
They found that eating one cup of berries lowered systolic blood pressure by 4.1 mm Hg. Another point for berries over wine: they made more of a positive impact than red wine. Researchers said the reduction is enough to consider “clinically relevant.”
Using food questionnaires, they studied the diets of 904 adults, looking at 112 different foods. They then measured the participants’ microbiomes through stool samples. They found that people with the most flavonoids had a wider variety of bacteria in their microbiome, which is a good thing. The scientists believed that these healthy microbiomes were playing a role in the lower blood pressure.
“Our findings indicate future trials should look at participants according to metabolic profile in order to more accurately study the roles of metabolism and the gut microbiome in regulating the effects of flavonoids on blood pressure,” said Dr. Aedín Cassidy of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s Univ. Belfast. “A better understanding of the highly individual variability of flavonoid metabolism could very well explain why some people have greater cardiovascular protection benefits from flavonoid-rich foods than others.”
The researchers believe that their study shows simply adding more flavonoid-rich foods to the diet could help lower blood pressure. When it’s something that we can so easily control and has so few consequences to try, we’re thrilled. Many vegetables and teas contain flavonoids, so adding a large variety to your diet isn’t hard — even if you don’t like berries. While they saw the most significant impact from berries, you can get flavonoids from tons of different foods!
Nutritionists will tell you there’s no such thing as a miracle food, and you should never build a diet around one type of food. Different plants all have wonderful properties. This study underscores how much a healthy diet, rich in plants, can do for your body. We certainly think flavonoids’ impact on blood pressure is worth exploring more — even if they aren’t a cure-all. And, adding more flavonoid-rich foods to your diet can be a great step toward achieving a healthy, balanced diet!