Collated observations from several epidemiological studies have demonstrated that dietary intake of (poly)phenols from nuts, coffee, cocoa, grapes, and berries may protect against the development of atherosclerosis. Whereas this beneficial activity has previously been linked mainly to antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties, recently emerging data suggest mechanisms by which (poly)phenolic substances can modulate cellular lipid metabolism, thereby mitigating atherosclerotic plaque formation. In this review, both experimental studies and clinical trials investigating the atheroprotective effects of the most relevant dietary (poly)phenols are critically discussed.
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