Research Roundup

October 2015 Issue

Research Roundup: October 2015

Beta-Glucans Lower Cholesterol.

Scientists from China found that consumption of beta-glucans—a type of fiber found in some plants, such as oats and barley—leads to a significant reduction of total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. While no effects were observed for HDL (“good”) cholesterol or triglycerides, no adverse effects were reported, either. The scientists conducted a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials comprising 916 subjects with elevated cholesterol levels to reach their findings.

Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, April 2015

Chocolate May Protect Heart.

Data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer, which followed nearly 21,000 adults in England for 12 years, found that those with the highest chocolate consumption (16-99 grams per day) had the lowest rate of stroke and heart attack, and also had lower average body mass index, systolic blood pressure, inflammation, and rates of diabetes. The researchers also conducted a meta-analysis of nine studies involving 157,809 participants and found that, compared to chocolate abstainers, heavy chocolate consumers were 25 percent less likely to suffer from adverse cardiovascular outcomes and had a 45 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality.

British Medical Journal, June 2015

Grapefruit Juice May Improve

Arterial Function. In a double-blind, randomized, controlled study, 48 healthy, post-menopausal women consumed 340 milliliters (12 ozs.) of grapefruit juice daily for six months. The juice provided 210 milligrams of naringenin glycosides, plant chemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of the grapefruit juice was linked to a significant reduction of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (a measure of arterial stiffness). Reducing arterial stiffness lowers the risk of cardiovascular events, such as stroke and heart attack.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2015