The Potential of Flavanol and Procyanidin Intake to Influence Age-Related Vascular Disease

Roberta R. Holt, Christian Heiss, Malte Kelm, Carl L Keen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Advancing age is an independent major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Age-associated impairments in the control of inflammation, excessive oxidative stress, and reduced cellular repair can all contribute to the development and progression of CVD. Current recommendations for both the primary and secondary prevention of CVD promote lifestyle modifications that include the adoption of healthy dietary patterns, such as the consumption of diets rich in plant foods, as these have been associated with a lower lifetime risk for the development of CVD. The potential for a diet rich in plant foods to be cardiovascular protective is also supported by prospective studies that suggest the intake of foods providing high amounts of certain phytochemicals, in particular flavanols and procyanidins, reduce the risk for CVD. These observations are further supported by a number of dietary intervention trials that show improvements in vascular function and reduced platelet reactivity following the consumption of high flavanol foods. In the current article we review a selection of these studies, and comment on some of the potential mechanisms that have been postulated to underlie the health effects of flavanol and procyanidin-rich foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-323
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • age
  • cardiovascular
  • epicatechin
  • flavanol
  • procyanidin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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