Diet is an important modifiable risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases. Plant foods contain a complex mixture of nutrients and bioactive compounds such as (poly)phenols. Plant-rich dietary patterns have been associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk in epidemiological studies. However, studies have not fully considered (poly)phenols as a mediating factor in the relationship. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted in 525 healthy participants, aged 41.6 ± 18.3 years. Volunteers completed the validated European Prospective Investigation into Diet and Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). We investigated the associations between plant-rich dietary patterns, (poly)phenol intake, and cardiometabolic health. Positive associations were found between (poly)phenols and higher adherence to dietary scores, except for the unhealthy Plant-based Diet Index (uPDI), which was negatively associated with (poly)phenol intake. Correlations were significant for healthy PDI (hPDI), with positive associations with proanthocyanidins (r = 0.39, p < 0.01) and flavonols (r = 0.37, p < 0.01). Among dietary scores, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) showed negative associations with diastolic blood pressure (DBP), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (Non-HDL-C) (stdBeta -0.12 to -0.10, p < 0.05). The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) score was positively associated with flow-mediated dilation (FMD, stdBeta = 0.10, p = 0.02) and negatively associated with the 10-year Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) risk score (stdBeta = -0.12, p = 0.01). Higher intake of flavonoids, flavan-3-ols, flavan-3-ol monomers, theaflavins, and hydroxybenzoic acids (stdBeta: -0.31 to -0.29, p = 0.02) also showed a negative association with a 10-year ASCVD risk score. Flavanones showed significant associations with cardiometabolic markers such as fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (stdBeta = -0.11, p = 0.04), TC (stdBeta = -0.13, p = 0.03), and the Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) of beta cell function (%B) (stdBeta = 0.18, p = 0.04). Flavanone intake was identified as a potential partial mediator in the negative association between TC and plant-rich dietary scores DASH, Original Mediterranean diet scores (O-MED), PDI, and hPDI (proportion mediated = 0.01% to 0.07%, p < 0.05). Higher (poly)phenol intake, particularly flavanone intake, is associated with higher adherence to plant-rich dietary patterns and favourable biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk indicating (poly)phenols may be mediating factors in the beneficial effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4078-4091
Number of pages14
JournalFood & Function
Issue number9
Early online date25 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2023


Dive into the research topics of '(Poly)phenol intake, plant-rich dietary patterns and cardiometabolic health: a cross-sectional study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this