An Apple a Day

Apples may cut cholesterol in women.

An apple a day might do more than keep the doctor away—it could lower cholesterol too, according to the results of a study conducted by researchers at Florida State University.[1]

The study involved 160 postmenopausal women randomly assigned to one of two dietary intervention groups: one group ate 75 grams (about one-third cup) of dried apples daily for one year while the other group consumed the equivalent in dried plums (prunes).

The effects of the apples were astounding. At the end of the year, the women who had consumed the apples saw a 23 percent decline in “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and a 4 percent increase in “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Furthermore, the extra 240 daily calories did not result in any weight gain; quite the contrary, the women lost an average of 3.3 pounds over the course of the year.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your body and in many foods. Cholesterol is essential to the body’s ability to function, but too much of it can be hazardous to your health, resulting in a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and heart attack.

High cholesterol can be hereditary or it can also be the result of poor diet and lifestyle habits. Because of the connection between high cholesterol and heart disease, researchers continue to search for ways to reduce cholesterol.

Apples may not solve the cholesterol conundrum, but they could be a promising step in the right direction. In other words, apples are not a magic bullet, but it can’t hurt to incorporate them into your diet. Dried apples and fresh apples will have the same effect.

Reference:


[1] Chai SC, Hooshmand S, Saadat RL, et al. Daily apple consumption promotes cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women. The FASEB Journal. 2011;25:971.10.