It’s said an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Now,scientists say there is some truth in the old adage as they found the fruit helps cut cholesterol levels and lose weight significantly.
Researchers at the Florida State University in the US found that women who ate 75 grams of dried apple a day for six months saw levels of LDL cholesterol — the harmful form blamed for clogging arteries — fall by almost a quarter.
Levels of other compounds linked to heart disease and strokes also dropped,and amounts of HDL or “good” cholesterol that wards off the hardening of blood vessels rose by about four per cent,the Daily Mail reported.
The women also lost an average weight of just over three pounds,despite taking on an additional 240 calories a day from snacking on the fruit.
The cholesterol benefits are said to have been triggered by apples’ anti-oxidants,while the slimming effect has been attributed to a compound which can suppress appetites.
Pectin is often used to help jams set,and high levels are also found in apricots,carrots and citrus fruits.
Getting the equivalent benefits from fresh apples would require eating four or five a day,the researchers said.
Dr Bahram Arjmandi,who led the study,said he “never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent”,adding that the results were “incredible”.
“Everyone can benefit from consuming apples,” Dr Arjmandi told the Experimental Biology conference in Washington.
Although the tests focused on dry fruit,help is at hand for fans of the fresh variety with the recent decoding of the apple’s genetic code,paving the way for crunchier,juicer and healthier produce.
Scientists are already using the information to create “extra-healthy” apples,set to reach supermarket shelves within four or five years.
Teams are breeding red-fleshed apples bursting with nutrients said to do everything from protecting eyes and joints to warding off heart disease,cancer,Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.