Polyphenol-rich diet could reduce cardiovascular risk

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th December 2011

A diet high in polyphenols could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and associated health risks, according to a new study by the University of Glasgow.

Researchers from the university’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences (ICAMS) say their findings suggest that as far as polyphenol-containing fruit drinks go, there are possible benefits for cardiovascular health.

Their research, published today in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, was funded by The Coca-Cola Company.

Polphenols are naturally-occurring chemicals found in many plants.

The researchers recruited 39 overweight volunteers, with a body mass index greater than 25, and gave half of them a fruit drink rich in polyphenols and the other half a placebo.

The drink used in the study was specially developed by the scientists and The Coca-Cola Company to contain polyphenolic compounds from a range of sources, including: green tea, grape seed, lemons and apples.

After two weeks, scientists took urine samples from the participants and subjected them to proteomic analysis.

Proteomics is a developing field of medicine which seeks to identify a range of proteins produced in the body which can be monitored to identify the development of particular disease states, long before symptoms are evident.

By knowing which proteins – or biomarkers – change when a disease is in its early stages of development, doctors might be able to prevent or reverse the disease’s progress, or to begin therapeutic treatment earlier.

The research found a total of 27 proteins that were significantly different between the two groups, including five that are associated with reduced risk cardiovascular disease.

The University of Glasgow’s Professor Harald Mischak said, “While the findings support the idea that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is beneficial to health, clinical studies have generally not adequately confirmed this. Our data indicates that proteomic analysis can be a powerful tool to assess potential positive effects of dietary products.