A study in the Journal of Nutrition has shown that polyphenols, the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, could have a beneficial effect in men with high blood pressure associated with metabolic syndrome. The antioxidants may improve the function of the veins and arteries through vasorelaxation, which in turn reduces resistance and pressure.
Twenty-five men aged 30 to 70 years with a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome were given 30 days of either freeze-dried grape polyphenol powder or placebo. Blood pressure and other markers for metabolic syndrome (including plasma glucose and triglyceride levels) were assessed at the end of the 30-day period. Participants who were given the polyphenol powder were seen to have a lower resting systolic blood pressure than those given placebo (122 ± 11 mm Hg and 128 ± 10 mm Hg, respectively). Although other parameters remained consistent between groups, the authors noted that consuming more polyphenols may potentially decrease heart disease risk.
Previous research has shown that lifestyle medications, such as carbohydrate-restricted diets, are the most effective in treating metabolic syndrome. Chronic administration of grape polyphenols may improve some of the components of the syndrome and reduce the risk of developing heart disease in the future.