Catechins as Potential Mediators of Cardiovascular Health
The impact of diet on cardiovascular disease has become an increasingly relevant topic as ongoing epidemiological evidence continues to demonstrate clear associations with disease burden and mortality. Certain diets, such as those high in sodium and saturated fat, are associated with cardiovascular disease states, while other diets can be cardioprotective. However, there is limited knowledge on how the micro- and macronutrients within such cardioprotective diets afford their benefits. One such micronutrient is the catechin class, which are naturally occurring compounds in plant foods, such as teas, cocoa, wine, pears, and apples. Recent evidence reveals that catechins may be a key mediator in cardiovascular health via mechanisms of blood pressure reduction, flow-mediated vasodilation, and atherosclerosis attenuation. This review evaluates the current literature on the interplay between catechins and cardiovascular disease, which may have important implications for nutrition counseling and pharmaceutical drug development.