Dried, diced or whole, green, golden or red; any way you slice them, apples offer up a bevy of health benefits. Packed with fiber and antioxidants, apples have been found to control appetite, regulate blood sugar, protect lungs and prevent cancer.
Now a recent study from Florida State University shows munching an apple a day can keep cholesterol and the doctor away. In fact, this humble fruit has so many disease-fighting properties that experts advise eating two apples a day!
Researchers gave women a few ounces of either dried apples or prunes every day and monitored their heart health every three months for a year. They found that the women who ate dried apples lowered their total cholesterol by fourteen percent, decreased their levels of bad cholesterol by twenty-three percent and boosted their good cholesterol by about four percent.
Eating apples seemed to lower levels of a protein linked to inflammation and heart disease. The women who ate apples had lower levels of a biochemical involved in forming heart-clogging plaques, too.
The women who ate prunes also enjoyed some reduction in these risk factors, but not nearly as much as those who ate apples.
What’s more, the apple-eaters lost an average of three pounds even though the dried fruit added calories to their daily diet.
The pectin and polyphenols in apples play a major part in peeling off the pounds and fighting cancer. Pectin is a soluble fiber that prevents the stomach from absorbing waxy cholesterol. Polyphenols, found in the apple’s skin, are antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.
So cook up a jonagold with oatmeal for breakfast or slice a granny smith into a salad. Just be sure to wash apples thoroughly to avoid eating a side of pesticides with your polyphenols.