24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Basic InformationLatest News
Salmonella Outbreak in 37 States Linked to Imported OnionsChina, U.S. Lead World in Saltiest Processed Meats, FishAmericans Are Eating More Ultra-Processed FoodsFDA Reduces Recommended Salt Levels in Americans' FoodDiet Drinks May Thwart Efforts to Lose WeightSecond Report on Toxins in Baby Foods Finds Continuing ProblemsMIND Diet May Guard Against Alzheimer'sFruits, Veggies a Recipe for Mental Well-Being in KidsCould a Japanese Plant Turn Cold Cuts Into Healthy Fare?Could Your Genes Be to Blame for Your Kid's Aversion to Broccoli?Dairy Foods May Be Good for You After AllAHA News: Food Insecurity's Long-Term Health ConsequencesPandemic Changed Families' Eating Habits, for Good and Bad: PollDiets That Lower Brain Iron Could Keep You SharpAHA News: Just How Healthy Are Pomegranates?Cutting Sugar in Packaged Foods Would Keep Millions of Americans From Illness: ReportDaily Coffee May Protect the HeartChange in the Kitchen Could Help Men in the BedroomFratelli Beretta Antipasto Trays Are the Source of Salmonella Outbreak: CDCA Little Wine & Certain Foods Could Help Keep Blood Pressure HealthyWhy Water Is Key to Your Heart's HealthSalmonella Illness in 17 States Tied to Salami, ProsciuttoWant That Healthy Skin Glow? These Foods Can Get You ThereVitamin D Might Help Prevent Early-Onset Colon CancerBreaded, Raw Chicken Recalled in Multi-State Salmonella OutbreakU.S. Kids Are Eating More 'Ultraprocessed' FoodsDiet Key to Better Health in People With DiabetesAHA News: Are Figs Good for You? Get the Whole Sweet StoryEating Less Meat Means a Healthier HeartChanging Diets Mean More Americans Are Anemic NowWant to Avoid Dementia? Add Some Color to Your PlateMcCormick Recalls Seasonings Over Salmonella RiskSimple Step Gets More School Kids Eating Their VeggiesEating Meat Raises Risk of Heart Disease: StudyCoffee Won't Upset Your Heartbeat. It Might Even Calm ItFermented Foods Could Boost Your MicrobiomeMany College Students Are Trying Out the New 'Fake Meats'Whole Grains Every Day: Key to Your Health and WaistlineAverage Soda Fountain Serving Exceeds Daily Recommended Added SugarsAHA News: How to Eat Right and Save Money at the Same TimePlant-Based Diet Best for Your HeartListeria Outbreak Linked to Precooked Chicken: CDCCan You Eat Your Way to Fewer Migraines?AHA News: Watermelon Is a Summertime Staple. But What's Hidden Behind the Sweetness?Most Americans Don't Follow Diets That Could Prevent CancerDelicious & Deadly: Southern U.S. Diet Tied to Higher Odds for Sudden DeathPotato Chips, Fatty Lunches Greatly Raise Your Heart RisksCoffee Could Perk Up Your LiverHow Healthy Are the New Plant-Based 'Fake Meats'?Fast-Food Companies Spending More on Ads Aimed at Youth
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Wellness and Personal Development

A Little Wine & Certain Foods Could Help Keep Blood Pressure Healthy

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 24th 2021

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Aug. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- An apple and a pear a day may help keep blood pressure under control — a benefit partly explained by gut bacteria, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that adults who regularly ate certain foods — apples, pears, berries and red wine — tended to have lower blood pressure than their peers.

One thing those foods have in common is a high content of antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids. Studies have suggested flavonoids can be a boon to heart health, by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and improving blood vessel function, among other things.

The new findings add another layer: Flavonoid-rich foods were linked to greater diversity in the gut microbiome — the vast collection of bacteria that naturally dwell in the digestive system.

And microbiome diversity seemed to partly explain the foods' benefits on blood pressure.

Gut bacteria play an important role in processing flavonoids so they can do their job, explained senior researcher Aedin Cassidy, a professor at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

At the same time, she said, people vary widely in the composition of their gut microbiome. It's possible that variability could help explain why some people seem to gain greater heart and blood vessel benefits from flavonoid-rich foods than others, according to Cassidy.

Researchers are just beginning to understand the complex ways in which the gut microbiome affects human health. Studies in recent years have found that the microbes play key roles in a range of normal body processes — from metabolism to immune defenses to brain function.

Exactly what constitutes a "healthy" microbiome is not yet clear. But experts believe that greater diversity in gut bacteria is generally better.

In the new study, Cassidy's team found that people who ate the most flavonoid-rich foods had, on average, more gut bacteria diversity. Greater diversity in certain bacteria was, in turn, tied to lower systolic blood pressure (the "top" number in a blood pressure reading).

The findings — published Aug. 23 in the journal Hypertension — are based on 904 German adults between 25 and 82 years of age. All completed a detailed dietary questionnaire and gave stool samples so their gut bacteria could be analyzed.

On average, the study found, the one-third of participants with the highest flavonoid intake had a 3-point lower systolic blood pressure than the one-third with the lowest flavonoid intake.

Next, the researchers delved into certain foods that were popular sources of flavonoids. They found that people who had one to two servings of apples, pears or berries each day shaved 2 to 4 points off their systolic blood pressure, compared to folks who avoided those foods.

Similar benefits were seen among people who drank just under three glasses of red wine per week.

Overall, the study found, diversity in gut bacteria explained up to 15% of the link between those flavonoid-rich foods and lower blood pressure.

Studies like this are helping researchers better understand exactly how diet affects health, according to Linda Van Horn, a volunteer expert with the American Heart Association (AHA).

But for the average person, the focus should be on overall diet quality, said Van Horn, who is also head of nutrition at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

"People eat food, not individual nutrients, and there is synergy across foods that make nutrients more bioavailable," Van Horn said.

That, she added, means that nutrients are better absorbed, and used, when they are in the presence of certain other nutrients.

Similarly, the gut microbiome can be influenced by a range of dietary factors. One recent study found that people who ate plenty of vegetables and fruit, fish, nuts and fiber-rich grains generally had more gut bacteria that fight inflammation.

In contrast, people who favored meat, processed foods and sugar tended to have clusters of gut microbes that promote inflammation — a state associated with many disease processes.

All of that is in line with diet recommendations for heart health: According to the AHA, people should strive for nine daily servings of vegetables and fruit — of all kinds — along with six servings of high-fiber whole grains.

That's not only for the sake of a diverse microbiome. Eating whole foods instead of processed foods will help people cut down on added salt and sugar, Van Horn said.

And while modest amounts of red wine were tied to benefits in this study, the AHA urges caution: There are risks to drinking, and people should not start a red-wine habit in the hopes of gaining heart benefits.

More information

The American Heart Association has advice on a following a heart-healthy lifestyle.

SOURCES: Aedin Cassidy, PhD, professor, nutrition and preventive medicine, Institute for Global Food Security, Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland; Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, chief, nutrition, department of preventive medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and volunteer expert, American Heart Association, Dallas; Hypertension, Aug. 23, 2021, online