High flavanol diet could lower blood pressure, researchers find


People who consume a diet including flavanol-rich foods and drinks, including tea, apples, and berries, could lead to lower blood pressure, according to a new United Kingdom-based study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

For the study, research studied the diet of more than 25,000 people in Norfolk, England and compared what they ate with their blood pressure. In contrast to most other studies investigating links between nutrition and health, the researchers did not rely on study participants reporting their diet, but instead measured flavanol intake objectively using nutritional biomarkers.

The difference in blood pressure between those with the lowest 10 percent of flavanol intake and those with the highest 10 percent of intake was between two and four mmHg, according to the study. The researchers said this is comparable to meaningful changes in blood pressure observed in those following a Mediterranean diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Notably, the effect was more pronounced in participants with hypertension, the researchers said.

"Previous studies of large populations have always relied on self-reported data to draw conclusions, but this is the first epidemiological study of this scale to objectively investigate the association between a specific bioactive compound and health,” said Gunter Kuhnle, lead author of the study and a nutritionist at the University of Reading, in a statement. “We are delighted to see that in our study, there was also a meaningful and significant association between flavanol consumption and lower blood pressure.”