High blood pressure, defined as systolic blood pressure of greater than 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure of greater than 90 mmHg affects millions of people throughout the world. A number of studies have shown that consumption of fruit, vegetables, wine and tea may protect against stroke, for which hypertension is the major risk factor. Flavonoid compounds, including flavonols, flavones and isoflavones, represent an important source of antioxidants in the diet. Flavonoid intake has been inversely associated with mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke. We hypothesize that individuals with hypertension have lower circulating flavonoid levels. Increased consumption of flavonoid-rich foods may decrease rates of hypertension. Lowering blood pressure through increased dietary consumption of dietary antioxidants may decrease the rate of end-organ damage that is secondary to hypertension. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
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