Research from the Institute for Global Food Security, led by Professor Aedín Cassidy at Queen’s University Belfast, has found that consuming flavonoid-rich foods on a regular basis could reduce your blood pressure because of how they are metabolised by the gut microbiome.
The study of more than 900 German adults found that participants who had the highest intake of flavonoid-rich foods – berries, red wine, apples, and pears, among others – had lower systolic blood pressure. They also had a greater diversity in their gut microbiome than the participants who consumed the lowest levels of flavonoid-rich foods.
For example, eating 80 grams of berries a day was associated with an average reduction in systolic blood pressure levels of 4.1 mm Hg, and about 12% of the association was explained by gut microbiome factors.
This highlights the key role of the gut microbiome in explaining the associations between flavonoid-rich foods and blood pressure. Up to 15% of the observed association was explained by the gut microbiome, suggesting these microbes play a key role in metabolising flavonoids to enhance their cardioprotective effects.
Researchers from Kiel University were also major contributors to the research, and the PopGen cohort was led by Professor Wolfgang Lieb.
Read more about the study here.