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Daily apple boosts heart health
Wed, 13 Apr 2011 09:40:27 GMT
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Eating apples every day may decrease the level of bad cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular diseases, a new study suggests.

According to the new findings presented at the Experimental Biology 2011 conference in Washington D.C., eating dried apples every day for a year decreased the level of total cholesterol in women by 14 percent and their levels of bad cholesterol or LDL by 23 percent.

The new study included 160 women between the ages of 45 and 65 who were randomly divided to two dietary intervention groups. One group was given 75 grams of dried apples every day for a year, while the other was given dried prunes daily for a year.

The results revealed that the apple-eating group had a sharp drop in the levels of LDL on top of a decrease in lipid hydroperoxide and C-reactive protein. There were also slight increases in levels of heart-protecting HDL also known as good cholesterol.

"To my surprise, in less than six months, it decreased LDL cholesterol 23 per cent and increased HDL a little bit more than three per cent - three to four per cent. So that's incredible," said Bahram Arjmandi, chair of the department of nutrition, food and exercise sciences at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

"I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by about 4 percent," he added.

Moreover, the participants in both groups lost a bit of weight while those in the apple-eating group lost on average 3.3 pounds (about 1.5 kilograms) over the course of the study. The daily serving of dried apples contained about 240 calories, according to the study.

The researchers suggest that two compounds found in apple known as pectin and a class of antioxidants known as polyphenols were behind the heart benefit. Previous studies have showed the heart-protecting effects of these substances in animals.

Arjmandi believes that the nutrients in apples may reduce inflammation in the body. He seeks to carry out a larger, multi-state trial of 10,000 people to see if the results can be replicated.

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