Thursday, May 19, 2011

In the News: Apples May Be Good for Our Cardiovascular Health

The results of a new study by the Department of Nutrition at Florida State University show a relationship between regularly eating dried apples and both a reduction in LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and an increase in HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol.) The study was rather small, with only 160 female subjects.

Half of the women were randomly assigned to a group that ate 75g dried apples everyday for a year. The other half ate 75g dried prunes for a year. Several health factors were measured at 3, 6, & 12 months. The final results were that the woman who ate the apples had an average 23% reduction in LDL cholesterol and an average 4% increase (maybe not really significant) in HDL cholesterol. They also lost an average of 3.3 lbs (probably also not significant). There were no significant health changes in those who ate the prunes.

My take on this study? It was a small study. One hundred and sixty people is a really small sample in my opinion. Because the researchers were not setting out to prove that apples helped health, I think the results for this small group are still worth looking at, especially the reduction in LDL cholesterol. There are a lot of different nutrition things that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, such as increasing your intake of soluble fiber, eating more fatty fish, eating more nuts, and using olive oil. If those don't work for you either because they are not viable diet options or they just aren't enough, I think adding a couple of ounces of dried apple to your diet each day might be something to give a try.