Thursday, April 14, 2011

An Apple a Day Keeps an-apple-a-day-keeps-cholesterol-at-bay

Lending credence to the old adage about eating an apple a day, a new study finds that women who ate the fruit daily saw improvements in cholesterol levels and markers of inflammation — suggesting a lower risk of heart disease — in a year's time.

The study, conducted by researchers at Florida State University, involved 160 women who were randomly assigned to eat about 2.7 ounces (75 g) of dried apples or prunes (dried plums) daily. Researchers did blood tests at the three-, six- and 12-month marks to measure heart-risk factors. (More on The Updated Egg: Less Cholesterol, But Is It a 'Healthy' Food?)

After a year, the women who ate dried apples had lowered their total cholesterol by 14%; their levels of LDL (or "bad") cholesterol had fallen by 23%, and their levels of HDL (or good) cholesterol had increased by about 4%. Participants also experienced a 32% decline in C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation in the body and a risk factor for heart disease.

The women who ate prunes saw also slight reductions in these risk factors, but not to the same extent as those who ate apples, said study author and professor of nutrition Bahram H. Arjmandi.

As an extra benefit, the women in apple group lost about 3.3 lbs. on average — even though the dried fruit added an extra 240 calories to their diets.

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