An apple a day – helps prevent heart disease

November 12, 2012

An apple a day – helps prevent heart disease

Recent studies concerning heart disease have indicated that eating apples is extremely beneficial to heart health. Consuming two apples a day appears to provide many benefits – not just in preventing heart disease but also in stroke and cancer prevention.

American study

The very latest research, carried out in the United States, indicates that drinking the juice of apples is as beneficial as eating the fruit in reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

This clinical trial provided healthy adults with either 12 fluid ounces of apple juice or two fresh apples. After six weeks, it was found the breakdown of cholesterol in the body was as much as 20% faster than prior to the trial. Since high cholesterol levels are a known risk factor for heart disease as well as strokes and various other health problems this is an exciting finding. Whilst other research and studies have conclusively proved that, a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of coronary heart disease this American study is the first to show the benefits of apples and apple products. The results of this study appear to show that even a moderate intake of apples, or its juice, will significantly reduce the risk of heart disease within a comparatively short time, this study also reinforces the benefits of small dietary changes in preventing the development of heart disease.

What’s in an apple?

Apples are rich in the anti-oxidants phytochemicals, which are known to lower the levels of so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, (LDL cholesterol). Apples also have a high pectin content that is also effective in lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Pectin is a soluble fibre with many health benefits.

Finnish research

Clinical trials in Finland showed that regular consumption of apples appeared to lower the risk of stroke occurrence – this health benefit appears to be associated with the antioxidant phytonutrients. This extensive study, carried out over a period of 28 years followed the dietary and medical records of over 9,000 male volunteers – meaning that the subsequent results may be considered scientifically reliable.

Benefits to lung function

A study carried out in Great Britain concluded that apple consumption improved lung function. Examination of the health and dietary records of over 2,500 men revealed a strong link between the weekly consumption of apples and good lung function. Once again, the antioxidant content appears to be the cause of this health benefit, in addition the flavonoid quercetin appears to also reduce the risk of cancer.

Previous research has suggested that it is the vitamin C content of fruit that is responsible for improved lung function – this British study has different results.

Apples and cancer

Hawaiian research has indicated that increased consumption of the flavonoid quercetin, found in onions as well as apples, is associated with a reduced risk of developing lung cancer. The Hawaiian findings are supported by findings in Finland.

The study of almost 10,000 healthy men and women who ate a diet high in flavonoid rich foods were found to be 20% less likely to develop cancer. In particular, researchers found that, the incidence of lung cancer were up to 46% lower in individuals eating a high flavonoid diet. This study also confirmed that a regular, increased intake of apples is associated with the lowest risk for heart disease.

Tags:

Category: Articles