Natural Health Tips

Apples For A Healthy Heart

A study has found that eating apples can offer protective effects against metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms related to increased heart disease risk.

A 2008 study found that 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, and 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.

"The association between consumption of apples/apple products, dietary intake and physiological parameters was examined in adults using data from the National health and nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2004). Apple consumers were defined as those who reported consumption of apples, apple juice, or applesauce during a 24-hour dietary recall. When compared to non-consumers, adult (19-50 years, n=968) apple consumers had significantly (p<0.01) increased intakes of total fruit (2.5±0.07 vs 0.7±0.03 servings) and decreased intakes of added sugar (20.8±0.6 vs 26.7±0.5 tsp) and solid discretionary fat (47.5±0.8 vs 52.6±0.4 g). Apple consumers had significantly (p<0.02) greater intakes of dietary fiber (21±0.4 vs 15±0.2 g), Vitamin A (731±27 vs 587±13 RE), Vitamin C (129±5 vs 89±2 mg), calcium (1012±23 vs 903±10 mg) and potassium (3225±43 vs 2727±20 mg). A significantly lower diastolic blood pressure (71±0.4 vs 72±0.2 mm Hg, p<0.01) and a reduced C-reactive protein level (0.33±0 vs 0.39±0 mg/dl, p<0.01) was observed in apple consumers relative to non-consumers. Consumers also had a 27% decreased likelihood of having metabolic syndrome (p<0.05), a 37% decreased likelihood for elevated blood pressure (p<0.01) and a 21% reduced risk of increased waist circumference (p<0.01). Therefore, apple/apple product consumption in adults is associated with greater nutrient density and a significant reduction in metabolic syndrome risk."

Fulgoni V et al. Apple consumption is associated with increased nutrient intakes and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome in adults from the National health and nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2004) The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:1081.7

This study adds to increasing evidence that apples are good for the heart.

One study published in the Lancet found that the flavonoids and antioxidants in the apple skin peel may contribute to a decreased risk of developing heart disease [1]. Another study found that for every ten grams of fiber added to the diet, there was a fourteen percent reduction in heart disease [2]. A medium apple contains five grams of fiber.

Apples are rich in fiber, both a source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Over two-thirds of the fiber and almost all of the antioxidants are found in the peel. Apples are a rich source of phytochemicals such as phenoylics (chlorogenic acid and catechin), carotenoids such as Beta-carotene, and flavonoids.

Almost half of the Vitamin C content in apples is just below the skin, as is the majority of its quercitin. Unfortunately, the apple skin is also the part most likely to contain pesticide and toxic residues in conventionally grown apples. Since peeling results in the loss of apples' flavonoids and most of its valuable fiber, choose organically grown apples whenever possible.

References

  • [1] Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Hollman PC, Katan MB, Kromhout D. Dietary antioxidant flavinoids and risk of coronary heart disease: The Zutphen Elderly Study. Lancet. 1993 Oct 23; 342(8878):1007-1011.

  • [2] Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, Loria CM, Whelton PK. Dietary fiber intake and reduced risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: the National health and nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Sep 8;163(16):1897-904 2003.