Like apples? Well if you like your pulse, you may want to develop a relationship with this common fruit. According to one recent study, eating an apple a day really can keep the doctor away– specifically, the cardiologist.
Researchers with Ohio State University found that eating one apple each day for a period of four weeks is able to reduce blood levels of what’s known as “bad cholesterol”—oxidized low-density lipoprotein. The apples didn’t just reduce LDL levels slightly, but by 40 percent.
The modern-day cholesterol myth would have you believe LDL is the enemy. But more aptly, the oxidation of LDL is the problem—increasing your risk of heart disease by triggering atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
The apples, says lead researcher Robert DiSilvestro, PhD, can stop the LDL from oxidizing.
Study participants were divided into three groups—one which was given Red or Golden Delicious apples, one which received a daily polyphenol supplement, and the third, which was a control group.
The results found the apple group was able to reduce oxidized LDL levels by the greatest percentage. While those receiving the polyphenol supplement saw some benefits, they weren’t as pronounced as the apple group.
Polyphenols are a group of antioxidants found in apples and credited with many health benefits.
According to DiSilvestro, the apples were even more effective at reducing LDL than other antioxidants including curcumin (found in turmeric), green tea, and tomato extracts.
The results of this study, where the polyphenols were beneficial but not as good as the entire fruit, is just one example of the “whole food being greater than the sum of its parts,” as GreenMedInfo explains. The synergistic effects of entire foods are far better than the supplements that attempt to break them down.
According to the study abstract:
“Many dietary modifications have been proposed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk, but often, these modifications require substantial effort. In contrast, in healthy middle aged adults, consumption of just one apple/day for 4 weeks drastically lowered plasma concentrations of oxidized low-density lipoprotein/beta2-glycoprotein I complex (oxLDL-β2GPI), a proposed contributor to atherosclerosis. OxLDL-β2GPI values were also lowered by capsules of apple polyphenol extract, though not as much as with whole apples. Placebo capsules had no effect.
The decrease in OxLDL-β2GPI concentrations in response to intake of apples or apple polyphenol extract were not accompanied by increased erythrocyte activities of superoxide dismutase 1, an antioxidant enzyme that can inhibit lipoprotein oxidation. In summary, an easily accomplished dietary intervention had a major effect on an atherosclerosis risk factor, in part via polyphenols, but not necessarily via superoxide dismutase.”
Previous studies have linked apple consumption with a variety of benefits, including: the reduced risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and even stroke.
While GMO apples are a concern of modern times, organic and non-GMO apples should still be easy to find. Further, apple trees are easily grown throughout temperate zones and generally affordable.