Turns out that mom was right all along. An apple a day does keep the doctor away. At least in terms of your cholesterol problems, according to a new study by Florida State University.
FSU researchers report that older women who ate apples every day saw significant improvements in cholesterol levels, as well as other measures related to cardiovascular risk.
The year-long study randomly assigned 160 women, ages 45-65, to eat either 75 grams (2.6 ounces) of apples every day or an equivalent amount of dried prunes. After just 6 months, the apple group averaged a 23% reduction in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and a 4% increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol, along with improvements in markers of lipid metabolism and inflammation.
Despite consuming 240 calories a day from the dried apples, the women lost an average 3.3 pounds. Researchers speculated that the pectin in apples may have contributed to the weight loss by making the women feel full. Eating apples as a weight loss tool is no small thing. As most people eat ‘unconsciously’ feeling full sooner may help them stop automatically what they won’t do by choice.
Pectin, along with polyphenols in apples, may also be responsible for the cholesterol improvements.
Study leader, Professor Bahram Arjmandi, a nutritionist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, U.S., said:”I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol….” He added: “Everyone can benefit from consuming apples.”
Other effects include a lower level of lipid hydroperoxide and C-reactive protein in the blood of the women.
Yet another benefit of apples is their water content. An apple contains 80%-85% water. This is something to keep in mind regarding your own hydration. Eating an apple is the same as drinking a half glass of water.
As a person who does eat an apple every day, I prefer the organic Red Delicious ones. I try to avoid regular apples as they are covered with pesticides. If you must eat them make sure you scrub them under running water to get them clean.