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My grandmother was a tremendous cook, with most of her recipes rooted in Mother Nature’s ingredients. But, she never competed with Mother Nature and one of the first things I remember her saying was, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” She was merely repeating an old saying that many of us know, however, apples have been scientifically proven to ward off disease and sickness.
A new study out of the Sunshine State ironically known for oranges compared apples to apples and labeled them a “miracle fruit.” The study was conducted at Florida State University and the results proved that apples are more than just a round bundle of fiber. Past studies touted the pectin and polyphenols packed into the fruit as qualities that improve lipid metabolism and have anti-inflammatory benefits.
This particular study, conducted by researchers Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, and Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences, looked specifically at the long-term preservation of cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women who consumed an apple a day. The study was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and was featured last month in Washington, D.C. at the Experimental Biology 2011 Conference.
The study looked at 160 women between the ages of 45-65. Some of the women ate dried apples daily for a year, while the other ate dried prunes daily for the year. Blood work was conducted on both groups at three, six and 12 month intervals. Arjmandi was pleased with results, even halfway through the study stating, "incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by 6 months- they experienced a 23% decrease in LDL cholesterol.” LDL is also referred to as the "bad cholesterol." He said, “I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by about 4%."
An added benefit for those in the apple group was weight loss. They lost an average of more than three pounds. Dr. Arjmandi says that could be the apple’s pectin, which has been known to help suppress appetite by making one feel fuller longer.