Grandma was right….An apple a day does keep the doctor away.

Here’s how….

Researchers have found that “consumption of one apple a day for four weeks lowered the blood levels of oxidized LDL – (aka the “bad” cholesterol) – by 40 percent”.  And as we know, high LDL numbers leads to hardening of the arteries, heart disease and an early death.

[box type=”note”]Taking capsules containing polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples, had a similar, but not as large, effect.[/box]

“When LDL becomes oxidized, it takes on a form that begins atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries,” said lead researcher Dr. Robert DiSilvestro.”We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for four weeks.”

How tremendous???

The difference was similar to that found between people with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary artery disease.

All by eating an apple a day for four weeks.

[box type=”note”]This study was funded by an apple industry group. This doesn’t invalidate the science but it bears mentioning.[/box]

Study Highlights

  • Dr. DiSilvestro described daily apple consumption as significantly more effective at lowering oxidized LDL than other antioxidants he has studied, including the spice-based compound curcumin, green tea and tomato extract.
  • For this study, the researchers recruited 16 nonsmoking healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60 who had a history of eating apples less than twice a month and who didn’t take supplements containing polyphenols or other plant-based concentrates.
  • The test subjects ate a large Red or Golden Delicious apple purchased at a Columbus-area grocery store daily for four weeks; 17 took capsules containing 194 milligrams of polyphenols a day for four weeks; and 18 took a placebo containing no polyphenols.
  • Not surprisingly, the placebo group saw no change in oxidized LDL levels

But what about the group that took the polyphenol capsules…

“We think the polyphenols account for a lot of the effect from apples, but we did try to isolate just the polyphenols, using about what you’d get from an apple a day,” DiSilvestro said. “We found the polyphenol extract did register a measurable effect, but not as strong as the straight apple. That could either be because there are other things in the apple that could contribute to the effect, or, in some cases, these bioactive compounds seem to get absorbed better when they’re consumed in foods.”

Conclusions

  1. Apples are good for you.
  2. Polyphenol supplements are good for you…but may require higher doses to match up to Mother Nature’s version.
  3. It’s apple season here in Canada, and I have a basket of Macintoshes sitting on my kitchen table.

Reference