A Diet Rich in Flavanols May Lower High Blood Pressure in Those Resistant to Regular Treatment Options

Hypertension is the most common chronic disease in the US, according to the CDC. In fact, 47%, or 116 million Americans are affected by this disease, which can be defined as abnormally high blood pressure in the blood vessels. It is most often measured during consultations with the general practitioner and with a blood pressure monitor.

Measuring Blood Pressure

Measuring Blood Pressure

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Hypertension is defined as 149/90

Normal blood pressure is 120/80. The first number is the systolic pressure, which is the maximum pressure when the heart contracts to empty itself of blood. The number 80 refers to the diastolic pressure, which is the minimum pressure when the heart relaxes to fill itself. Hypertension is defined as high blood pressure when these numbers exceed 149/90. If hypertension is suspected, for confirmation the doctor often asks the patient to take measurements at home several times a day for three days.

10-30% of hypertensive people are resistant to treatment

10-30% of hypertensive people are resistant to the available treatments, meaning that they do not lower blood pressure for them. But these people may have a solution through diet. According to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, eating foods rich in flavanols – antioxidants found in certain fruits, vegetables, tea, and cocoa – may help reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

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Flavanols are antioxidants found in certain fruits, vegetables, tea, and cocoa. To get the most out of flavanols, it is best to eat foods that contain them in an unprocessed form.

Lower blood pressure for those who consume flavanols

To reach this conclusion, researchers analyzed urine samples from more than 25,000 adults in the UK for the biomarker flavan-3-ol. This indicates how much flavanols these participants consume. As a result, systolic blood pressure was 1.9 millimeters of mercury (mmHG) lower in men and about 2.5 mmHG lower in women with the highest levels of flavan-3-ol. This means that those who consumed more flavanols had a reduction in hypertension. Finally, the authors noted that this positive effect of flavanols had a greater effect on older people.

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Biomarker-estimated flavan-3-ol intake is associated with lower blood pressure in cross-sectional analysis in EPIC Norfolk

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