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J Nutr. 2005 Oct;135(10):2291-4.

Cardioprotective effects of dietary polyphenols.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


Dietary polyphenols have been shown to possess cardioprotective effects. For example, the most noted role of grape polyphenols is in the French Paradox, in which a diet high in saturated fat accompanied by regular consumption of red wine is associated with a low risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Initially, the paradox was thought to be driven by the postulated major action of grape polyphenols in inhibiting LDL oxidation. Although many studies have shown inhibitory effects of polyphenols on LDL oxidation, there have been an equal number of studies that showed a null effect on this variable. Although there are contrasting viewpoints on the effects of polyphenols on LDL oxidation variables, there is increasing evidence that these compounds possess additional cardioprotective functions including altering hepatic cholesterol absorption, triglyceride assembly and secretion, the processing of lipoproteins in plasma, and inflammation. It is the purpose of this review to examine recent information on the multiple functions of dietary polyphenols, with an emphasis on grape polyphenols, in decreasing the risk of CHD by improving plasma lipid profiles and reducing inflammation.

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