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NewsBites March 2019 Issue

Flavanols from Food Likely Better than Supplements

Image Roman Samokhin | Getty Images

Flavaonol-rich foods, like apples, may be better for your health than supplements.

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, determined that isolated flavanols did not have a beneficial impact on systolic blood pressure and other cardiometabolic markers. Flavanols are components of whole plant foods which are thought to have beneficial health effects. The highest concentration of flavanols can be found in apples, dark chocolate, and tea, although the compounds are different among the different foods. To date, there are several small human intervention trials that have observed acute and chronic health benefits from the consumption of flavanol-rich foods. In particular, consumption of flavanol-rich foods has been associated with decreases in blood pressure, improved lipid profiles and blood sugar levels, and improved measures of arterial stiffness and cardiovascular disease risk. The current trial examined the health effects of various dosage levels of isolated flavanol(s) from apple extract for 42 study participants over a twenty-eight-day period. Researchers found no significant effects of consuming flavanols from apple extract on systolic blood pressure or any other cardiometabolic markers. Consuming flavanol-rich foods, as opposed to an isolated supplement, may yield greater health benefits, in part because these flavanol-rich foods likely replace less healthful choices.

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