I like fruit and eat at least a couple a day. My favorites are juicy fruits like berries and melons, and honestly, I only eat apples once in a while. Maybe it is the easy access to apples year-round that makes them seem less “special” to me. I feel the same way about bananas. They are just so available!
I am taking a new look at apples now, after reading about a recent study at Florida State University. The researchers studied the effects of daily apple consumption on postmenopausal women and found amazing benefits. A group of 160 women ages 45-65 were randomly assigned to two intervention groups. One group ate 75g of dried apples every day for a year, while the second group received dried prunes instead. After 6 months, those who ate apples had a 23% decrease in LDL-cholesterol, as well as lower levels of other risk factors for heart disease. HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) increased at the same time by about 4%.
Previous studies done on animals show similar results. Apple pectin and polyphenols in apples improve lipid metabolism and lower the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Anything that lowers inflammation is likely to reduce disease.
Study results showed another benefit as well. While the daily apple intake represented about 240 calories, the women lost an average of 3.3 pounds. The pectin in the apples seemed to create a feeling of fullness.