An apple a day keeps the doctor away – or anyone away, if you throw it hard enough – but a new study has found apples may be healthier than originally thought, particularly for the heart.
Researchers recruited nonsmoking healthy adults between 40 and 60 with a history of eating apples less than twice a month and not taking supplements containing polyphenols or other plant-based concentrates. Sixteen participants ate a large Red or Golden Delicious Apple every day for 4 weeks, 17 took 194 milligrams of polyphenols every day for four weeks, and 18 took a placebo containing no polyphenols.
The results showed that eating an apple a day for 4 weeks lowered LDL blood cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) by as much as 40%,. While taking straight polyphenols did have a measurable effect, it was not as strong as eating a straight-up apple per day. Those taking the placebo saw no measurable effect.
“When LDL becomes oxidized, it takes on a form that begins atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries,” said Robert DiSilvestro, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University and a researcher at the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for 4 weeks.”
He also noted that it is possible something in the apple other than polyphenols was contributing to the lowering of cholesterol, or the bioactive compounds are better absorbed when consumed directly from a food.
It should be noted, the study was funded by the apple industry, which of course raises more than a few eyebrows, but it’s not like we didn’t already know fruit is a great way to absorb nutrients. If you’re going to eat apples, my opinion is, go for organic; non-organic apples reportedly have more pesticides on them than any other crop.
Are you eating an apple a day?
Image CC licensed by Pål Alvsaker