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The consumption of polyphenols in adolescents is associated with better cardiovascular health, according to a collaborative research study which includes the participation of the University of Barcelona, the Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS, the Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBEROBN), the Spanish Cardiovascular Research Network (CIBERCV) and the SHE Foundation.
The study, carried out with funding from La Caixa Foundation and La Marató de TV3, has been published in the journal Scientific Reports. As part of the study, the researchers analyzed the number of polyphenols in the urine of 1,326 adolescents that took part in the SI! Program (Integral Health) of 24 secondary education schools in Madrid and Barcelona.
Polyphenols are bioactive compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in several plant-based foods, mainly in fruit, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil. To date, there were a few studies on the intake of polyphenols in children and adolescents. Since this life stage is critical and it compromises cardiovascular health in adulthood, the findings shown in the study are important to encourage similar studies in other European countries and worldwide, as well as to conduct clinical trials to confirm the effect and the dose-response relationship of polyphenols on cardiovascular health from childhood onwards.
"Although this is a cross-sectional study and we cannot see the causality of this relationship, the scientific literature and the previous studies carried out by our research group show that polyphenols have a protective effect on the incidence of cardiovascular health in adults", concludes the professor.
The SI! The program is designed by the SHE Foundation, an entity that has the support of the La Caixa Foundation and has been led by cardiologist Valentín Fuster. This initiative is aimed at children aged 3-16 and its aim is to show that the acquisition of healthy habits from childhood reduces the risks of suffering from cardiovascular diseases and it improves the quality of life in adulthood.
As part of this program, the study has been carried out under the supervision of the research groups led by Rosa M Lamuela, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the UB and INSA-UB, and Ramon Estruch, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB and Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS, both members of CIBEROBN, in collaboration with the teams of the experts Rodrigo Fernández and Juan Fernández, from CIBERCV the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC), and Gloria Santos and Valentín Fuster, from the SHE Foundation.