In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated the health benefits of polyphenols, and special attention has been paid to their beneficial effects against cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world today. Polyphenols present vasodilator effects and are able to improve lipid profiles and attenuate the oxidation of low density lipoproteins. In addition, they present clear anti-inflammatory effects and can modulate apoptotic processes in the vascular endothelium. It has been suggested that most of these effects are a consequence of the antioxidant properties of polyphenols, but this idea is not completely accepted, and many other mechanisms have been proposed recently to explain the health effects of these compounds. In fact, different signaling pathways have been linked to polyphenols. This review brings together some recent studies which establish the beneficial properties of polyphenols for cardiovascular disease and analyzes the mechanisms involved in these properties.
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