There’s a new study that supports an age old saying… eating an apple (or better yet two) a day is good for you, helping to reduce heart disease risk factors. The benefits of apples seems to be a lowering of cholesterol levels and a pair of other key markers that are linked with plaques and inflammation of artery walls. The latest work to tout an apple’s benefits was just presented at the Experimental Biology 2011 conference, held in Washington, D.C.
While we’ve all heard that apples are good for us… researchers cannot rest until they know precisely why this is. What particular substances might be locked inside that perfect package? Might we find it in other foods as well?
The latest study on apples recruited 160 female subjects (45-65 years old) and randomly assigned them to eat a serving (75g) of dried apples or dried prunes each day. The participants underwent blood tests to check for indicators of heart health at the 3-month, 6-month and 1 year point in the study.
At the end, the apple eating women saw their total cholesterol drop by 14% on average, with LDL cholesterol going down by an average 23%. What’s more, levels of lipid hydroperoxide, a chemical that’s part of the formation of plaques that clog the heart and C-reactive protein, a well-known marker for inflammation both dropped by almost a third. The subjects eating apples even lost weight, about 3.3 pounds over the study period.
For our prune lovers out there… these women also saw some reduction in the heart health markers, but not nearly as much as the apple eaters did.
The apple’s affect on bad (LDL) cholesterol was a particular surprise according to researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD the chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Science at Florida State University. By six months the apple-eating subjects were seeing a benefit. Apples, and apple juice, have both shown us incredible benefits from the active components apples come by naturally.
Another expert, Dianne A. Hyson, PhD. RD, from across the country at the University of California at Davis has just reviewed 80 studies published after 2005 that make some pretty impressive claims on the benefits that apple an day can bring. There’s evidence that the tasty, crunchy fruit helps regulate blood sugar, control your appetite, safeguard the lungs and even protect the body from cancer.
So what’s behind the apple’s amazing benefits?
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Proven: Apples Are Good For Your Heart… Continued…
Apples are full of pectin, a soluble fiber that blocks cholesterol absorption during digestion and pushes the body to use (and not store) the waxy substance. The peels are also full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that works to prevent damage to cells from free radicals.
The benefits of apples can be achieved by eating any color or variety, so long as you eat the whole fruit, skin and all. Natural sources of nutrients are always better than supplements or components, like diced fruit in prepared packages. The whole has been proven, time and again, to be better than the sum of its parts. So no peeling. Seems like high time more of us recognized the truth behind the apple a day expression and made the healthful crunch part of our next snack.