The Poli4Hiper research project, led by Claúdia N. Santos, principal investigator of the Molecular and Nutrition Health group, was distinguished with the honourable mention for Research and Development category within Food & Nutrition Awards 2019, on an entirely online ceremony broadcasted last November 18.
Poli4Hiper – (Poly)phenols beneficial effects in hypertension - project's ultimate goal is to evaluate the impact of a diet enriched in (poly)phenols (compounds known for their health benefits that are present in several foods - for example, fruits) in hypertension. To understand that impact, Cláudia N. Santos and Andreia Gomes (Ph.D. Student from the same research group) have used hypertensive rats as models to identify the benefits of (poly)phenol products derived from their metabolism, on the animal's cardiovascular function. Through this comprehensive study, was also possible to assess the connection between the diet used, rich in (poly)phenols, and the gut microbiota (the set of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit rat´s intestines; they are key for health and wellbeing) composition in the tested animals.
[Graphical abstract showing Poli4Hiper main results]
Cláudia N. Santos highlights the importance and pertinence of Poli4Hiper for the improvement of human health: "This work allows us to offer scientific knowledge that could be transferable to Humans on the bioeffectiveness of (poly)phenols in cardiovascular protection". Furthermore, with this project, it will be possible to raise awareness towards fruit consumption among the consumers, as the researcher explains: "Additionally it will promote the use of fresh fruit or will inspire the development of a valuable nutraceutical product, with beneficial effects on consumer health."
An honourable mention is always an important moment for a researcher. For Cláudia N. Santos and her research group, this mention validates the good results from the Lab's work strategy: "[it] distinguishes the importance of our integrated approach (...) [because] it considers the animal metabolism, microbiota alterations and (...) alterations in the affected organs, namely heart and kidney.", refers the scientist. The researcher concludes by expressing her gratitude towards partners within the project: "This approach is possible due to our amazing network of collaborators either at CEDOC (Sofia Pereira) and other European Institutions."