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An Apple a Day Can Keep the Doctor Away According to Scientists

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Everyone has heard the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But why does eating an apple a day keep the doctor away? Do apples contain specific health benefits?

Are truly a “miracle fruit” that convey benefits beyond fiber content, according to Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at The Florida State University.

Animal studies have shown that apple pectin and polyphenols in apple improve lipid metabolism and lower the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Dr. Arjmandi’s most recent research is the first to evaluate the long-term cardioprotective effects of daily consumption of apple in postmenopausal women.

The study is the first to evaluate the long-term cardioprotective effects of daily consumption of apple in postmenopausal women.

This study randomly assigned 160 women ages 45-65 to one of two dietary intervention groups: one received dried apples daily (75g/day for 1 year) and the other group ateeating-apple dried prunes every day for a year. Blood samples were taken at 3, 6 and 12-months. The results surprised Dr. Arjmandi, who stated that “incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by 6 months- they experienced a 23% decrease in LDL cholesterol,” which is known as the “bad cholesterol.” The daily apple consumption also led to a lowering of lipid hydroperoxide levels and C-reactive protein in those women.

“I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by about 4%,” Arjmandi said. Yet another advantage is that the extra 240 calories per day consumed from the dried apple did not lead to weight gain in the women; in fact, they lost on average 3.3 lbs. “Reducing body weight is an added benefit to daily apple intake” he said. Part of the reason for the weight loss could be the fruit’s pectin, which is known to have a satiety effect. The next step in confirming the results of this study is a multi-investigator nationwide study.

There is frequently some truth behind our common expressions, and in the case of ‘an apple a day,’ Dr. Arjmandi has shown that nutrition science backs up the expression. “Everyone can benefit from consuming apples,” he said.

This USDA-funded study was performed by Florida State University and was presented at Experimental Biology 2011 on Tuesday, April 12, at 12:45 pm in Washington, DC.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 30 June 2011 04:00
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