By Dr. Ted Achacoso

BeerenA number of previous studies have demonstrated that increased consumption of foods rich in polyphenols – a potent antioxidant compound, help to lower the risks of cardiovascular disease. A. Tresserra-Rimbau, from the University of Barcelona (Spain), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 7,172 men and women, ages 55 to 80 years, enrolled in the PREDIMED (PREvencion con DIeta MEDiterranea) study. Subjects self-reported daily dietary intakes and were followed for 4.3 years. The team found that those participants with the highest average intake of flavanoids – including proanthocyanidins, catechins, and theaflavins, were at 60% reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Further, those subjects consuming the most lignans in their diets were at a 48% reduced risk. The study authors submit that: “Greater intake of polyphenols, especially from lignans, flavanols, and hydroxybenzoic acids, was associated with decreased [cardiovascular disease] risk.”

TEDBits (Dr. Ted says): “Be kind to your heart! Although the red color is a reminder, like strawberries, raspberries, apples, tomatoes, and red bell peppers, blueberries, green tea, and citrus fruits are wonderful sources of polyphenols. Lignans are polyphenols found in plants. Flaxseed is the richest source of dietary lignan precursors. They get converted by intestinal bacteria to lignan forms that the body can use.”
Reference: Tresserra-Rimbau A, E.B. Rimm, A. Medina-Remón, M.A. Martínez-González, R. de la Torre, D. Corella, et al. “Inverse association between habitual polyphenol intake and incidence of cardiovascular events in the PREDIMED study.” Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis., 22 Jan. 2014.