The Postprandial Appearance of Features of Cardiometabolic Risk: Acute Induction and Prevention by Nutrients and Other Dietary Substances

Nutrients. 2019 Aug 21;11(9):1963. doi: 10.3390/nu11091963.


The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of diets, food, and food components that affect postprandial inflammation, endothelial function, and oxidative stress, which are related to cardiometabolic risk. A high-energy meal, rich in saturated fat and sugars, induces the transient appearance of a series of metabolic, signaling and physiological dysregulations or dysfunctions, including oxidative stress, low-grade inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction, which are directly related to the amplitude of postprandial plasma triglycerides and glucose. Low-grade inflammation and endothelial dysfunction are also known to cluster together with insulin resistance, a third risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and type-II diabetes, thus making a considerable contribution to cardiometabolic risk. Because of the marked relevance of the postprandial model to nutritional pathophysiology, many studies have investigated whether adding various nutrients and other substances to such a challenge meal might mitigate the onset of these adverse effects. Some foods (e.g., nuts, berries, and citrus), nutrients (e.g., l-arginine), and other substances (various polyphenols) have been widely studied. Reports of favorable effects in the postprandial state have concerned plasma markers for systemic or vascular pro-inflammatory conditions, the activation of inflammatory pathways in plasma monocytes, vascular endothelial function (mostly assessed using physiological criteria), and postprandial oxidative stress. Although the literature is fragmented, this topic warrants further study using multiple endpoints and markers to investigate whether the interesting candidates identified might prevent or limit the postprandial appearance of critical features of cardiometabolic risk.

Keywords: berries; endothelial function; metabolic syndrome; nuts; oxidative stress; postprandial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates*
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Humans
  • Postprandial Period*
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins