Background: Certain foods rich in phenolic acids have been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension, but evidence from epidemiological studies focused on dietary phenolic acid intake is scarce. The aim of this study was to determine the association between dietary phenolic acid intake, as well as their major food sources, and hypertension in a Mediterranean cohort. Methods: Demographic and dietary data of 2044 adults living in Southern Italy were collected. Food frequency questionnaires and Phenol-Explorer were used to calculate dietary intake of polyphenols. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to test associations. Results: The mean intake of total phenolic acids in the cohort was 362.6 mg/day. Individuals in the highest quartile of phenolic acid intake (median intake = 522.2 mg/day) were less likely to have hypertension (OR (odds ratio) = 0.68, 95% CI (confidence interval): 0.46, 1.00). When taking into account individual subclasses of phenolic acids, only hydroxyphenylacetic acid was inversely associated with hypertension (highest vs. lowest quartile, OR = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.40, 0.96). Among dietary sources of phenolic acids considered in the analysis, only beer was significantly inversely associated with hypertension (highest vs. lowest quartile, OR = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.68). Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that dietary phenolic acids may be inversely associated with hypertension, irrespectively of their dietary source.
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