Few fruits have the same mystique as the apple, which is curious given its ubiquitous presence in our lives. Now it turns out that Aphrodite’s favorite fruit – the edible pome that provided eternal youth for Norse gods, had a starring role in the Garden of Eden, wreaked havoc for young Snow White, and has become the cult icon for hip tech geeks everywhere – may also save your heart.
In a new study of healthy adults, the simple act of eating an apple a day for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL (“bad” cholesterol), which has been linked to hardening of the arteries. The decrease was significant: 40 percent.
"When LDL becomes oxidized, it takes on a form that begins atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries," said lead researcher Robert DiSilvestro, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University and a researcher at the university's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for four weeks."
Amazingly, the difference was similar to that found between people with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary artery disease, he said. DiSilvestro noted that an apple a day was significantly more effective at decreasing oxidized LDL than other antioxidants he has studied, including superstar antioxidants like the spice-based compound curcumin, green tea and tomato extract.
The research was funded by the apple industry, which always makes me wonder, but it's not the first study to find significant salubrious benefits in apples. The study is online in the Journal of Functional Foods and will appear in a future print edition.
Note: SKip the poison apples in favor of organic ones. Apples are the number one offender on the 12 Most Toxic Fruits and Vegetables list.