Background: Polyphenols are bioactive compounds that can be found mostly in foods like fruits, cereals,
vegetables, dry legumes, chocolate and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine. They are extensively used in
the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) providing protection against many chronic illnesses.
Their effects on human health depend on the amount consumed and on their bioavailability. Many studies
have demonstrated that polyphenols have also good effects on the vascular system by lowering blood pressure,
improving endothelial function, increasing antioxidant defences, inhibiting platelet aggregation and low-density
lipoprotein oxidation, and reducing inflammatory responses.
Methods: This review is focused on some groups of polyphenols and their effects on several cardiovascular risk
factors such as hypertension, oxidative stress, atherogenesis, endothelial dysfunction, carotid artery intima-media
thickness, diabetes and lipid disorders.
Results: It is proved that these compounds have many cardio protective functions: they alter hepatic cholesterol
absorption, triglyceride biosynthesis and lipoprotein secretion, the processing of lipoproteins in plasma, and inflammation.
In some cases, human long-term studies did not show conclusive results because they lacked in appropriate
controls and in an undefined polyphenol dosing regimen.
Conclusion: Rigorous evidence is necessary to demonstrate whether or not polyphenols beneficially impact CVD
prevention and treatment.