An apple a day keeps the doctor away – true or false? Well, surprisingly enough, it looks like the old saying may actually be true. Eating an apple a day just may keep the doctor away!
In a recent study at Florida State University, researchers found that women who ate dried apples daily, over a period of a year, reduced their total cholesterol by 14% and their ‘bad” LDL cholesterol by 23%. While, at the same time, they increased “good" HDL cholesterol by 4%.
Total high total cholesterol and high “bad” LDL cholesterol can result in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) leading to potentially fatal heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Women, Heart Disease and an Apple a Day
Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of American women?
It's true! More women die from heart disease than the next 16 causes of death all put together. So protecting yourself by simply eating an apple a day could add healthy years to your life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the foods you eat have a direct effect on your cholesterol levels – either good or bad. Foods high in saturated and trans fats can significantly raise cholesterol levels and put you at serious risk for heart disease and stroke.
On the other hand, getting plenty of healthy omega 3 fish oil and olive oil, plus high fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains help to reduce your cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.
In the Florida State apple study, the researchers wanted to measure the long-term effects of apples on heart health. The group of women who were randomly assigned to eating a portion of dried apples every day significantly lowered their 'bad' LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
But they also significantly lowered their levels of C-reactive protein and lipid hydroperoxide, two other substances many scientists relate to an increased risk of heart disease.
Apple Nutrition Facts and Apple Calories
Apples are great high fiber foods. Apple nutrition is high and apple calories are low (95 for a medium apple). And according to the study, the women on the apple regime, despite adding the apple calories to their daily diet, lost an average of 3 to 4 pounds during the year long trial.
The researchers believe that, because of the extra fiber, adding apples to their daily diet may have helped the women to feel fuller. They therefore probably ate fewer total calories.
Apples are excellent fruit for many different reasons. For one, they’re high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is found in the pulp, while the apple skin is rich in insoluble fiber. When digested, apple pulp becomes a very viscous gel-like substance that grabs cholesterol, scrubbing it out of the body. Apples also contain a healthy amount of bulk-increasing pectin.
And apples aren't just a good source of fiber. They’re also very high in antioxidant nutrients and antioxidants help to reduce inflammation, a major cause of many unwanted health problems.
Now you know that the age-old advice "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" really works!
So start adding an apple a day to your daily diet. And, if you really want to avoid heart disease and stroke, also eliminate all unhealthy fats and add more olive oil, omega 3 fish oils, healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads, cereals and other foods high in fiber to your daily diet.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.