But Do Eat Sound Apples!

By Susan Littlefield

An apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away! In an apple industry-funded study done recently at Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and published online in the Journal of Functional Foods, researchers found that healthy, middle-aged adults who ate one apple a day for four weeks had a forty percent reduction in their blood levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein or LDL -- commonly called "bad cholesterol" -- compared to a control group.

Oxidized LDL promotes inflammation that can lead to tissue damage and hardening of the arteries. So the pronounced reduction of oxidized LDL that resulted from daily apple eating -- similar to the difference found between people with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary artery disease -- is exciting news. Says lead researcher Robert DiSilvestro, "We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for four weeks."

The LDL-busting effect of apples is thought to come from polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples, but its delivery in an whole apple seems to be key for the maximum benefit. When study participants were given polyphenol extract in capsules they experienced a similar, but smaller reduction in oxidized LDL levels compared to when they consumed the whole fruit.

DiSilvestro also noted that eating one apple a day was significantly more effective at lowering oxidized LDL levels than some other antioxidants whose health benefits have been widely touted, including green tea, tomato extract, and curcumin, found in the spice turmeric.

To read more about this exciting research, go to: OSU Research News.

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