Heart Health Boosted by Eating Apples

Sep 6, 2009 by

Heart Health Boosted by Eating Apples

The old adage goes – “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Indeed, apples are extremely nutritious fruits, and should form a part of a health promoting diet.

And recent research has validated this saying, showing the beneficial effects of eating apples against heart disease and other health conditions. Read more in the following article.

Eating Apples Benefits the Heart

by Reuben Chow

A team of researchers who looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2004 has found that eating apples can offer protective effects against metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms related to increased heart disease risk.

People who had reported eating any form of apples within the past 24 hours had 27% lower chance of having the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. These include high blood pressure, or a large waist measurement (over 40 inches for men or over 35 inches for women). They also had lower blood levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation signifying heightened risk for diabetes and heart disease.

This recent study led by Victor Fulgoni, PhD, adds to increasing evidence that apples are good for the heart. The recent Iowa Women‘s Health Study, for example, tracked over 34,000 women for close to two decades and found a link between the consumption of apples and lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease as well as coronary heart disease.

Prior to that, research in Finland using data of 9,208 people and carried out over a period of 28 years found that those who ate apples frequently had lower risk of getting a stroke.

Some beneficial compounds in apples include antioxidant flavonoid compounds such as epicatechin, epigallocatechin, kaempferol and quercetin, which play an important role in inhibiting inflammation and preventing low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from oxidizing, which in turn triggers a series of processes which then cause the buildup of plaque in arteries; pectin, a soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol levels; and vitamin C, another important antioxidant and immune boosting nutrient.

And antioxidants are just one part of the entire picture. Rui Hai Liu, PhD, a Cornell University food scientist who is an apple expert and who had in other research identified anti-cancer elements in extracts of whole apples, feels that there is still a lot to learn about how the various constituents in apples “work together additively and synergistically to provide health benefits”.

This point was echoed by one of the team members of the Iowa Women’s Health Study, David Jacobs, PhD, a University of Minnesota researcher. “There are probably thousands of compounds in apples that we haven’t yet identified and maybe won’t identify for a long time, but we really don’t need to know all that, because we can eat whole apples,” he said.

This piece of advice from Jacobs really applies to all food in general – eat them in their natural, whole forms, as provided by Nature, and we will reap the maximum benefits. Unfortunately, most of us today eat processed material which, while edible, barely even passes off for food in the truest sense of the word.

Much of the useful phytochemicals in apples can be found in its skin, and you may want to eat that, too. Afraid of pesticides? Buy organic apples. If you cannot afford them or they are not available in your area, you may want to use a natural vegetable cleaning liquid to help remove as much of the chemicals from the skin as possible before consumption.

Source

Apples for Your Heart? (http://node2-www.care2.com/greenliving/apples-for-your-heart.html)

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