Scientists were amazed at what they discovered with their study: In older women that, even though eating 75 grams of dried apple added an additional 240 calories each day, the participants lost an average of 3.3 lbs over six months. While three pounds doesn’t seem like a lot to lose, its significant when taken into consideration that calorie intake was actually being increased.
But the biggest surprise to researchers Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, and Professor Margaret A. Sitton was that there was such a significant decrease in “bad cholesterol” (LDL) in the women who participated in the study. Eating an equivalent of one apple a day reduced LDL levels on average in the study participants by a whopping 23%! In just six months! But there was more good news from the study about apple consumption as well: HDL or good cholesterol increased by 4%.
The researchers, who conducted the study through The Florida State University, pronounced apples to be a “miracle fruit” and went on to suggest that two apples a day may be even better than just one.
In addition to the weight and cholesterol busting properties of apples, this amazing fruit also contains fiber, pectin and polyphenols. The fiber in apples is not digested normally in the human digestive system but is rather fermented in the colon, thereby adding to gut flora and the health of good bacteria in our digestive tract.
Pectin and polyphenols are known anti-inflammatory compounds and may have an cancer preventative function in humans. Additionally, it may be the pectin content that aided in the weight reduction that was seen in the women who participated in the study.
These compounds, pectin, polyphenols/phytochemicals, which apples happen to be rich in, are known to prevent or suppress breast cancer cells. The American Institute For Cancer Research suggests that consuming a couple of apples a day can:
- Promote death of cancer cells
- Prevent cancer growth
- Protect cells from oxidation
In addition to breast cancer prevention, there is strong evidence that apples can lower the risk for lung and colon cancer as well.
Bottom line is that if you are looking to lose weight and lower bad cholesterol levels, an apple or two a day will help with these two conditions and will also have other additional health benefits as well. So go ahead and stock up on apples! Sometimes old adages, such as “an apple a day will keep the doctor away” have more truth than not.
Daily Apple versus Dried Plum: Impact on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Postmenopausal Women. Journal Of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietics (Volume 112, Issue 8)