If eating one apple a day can keep the doctor away, more of this good thing must be better, right?
Well, in this case, it appears that two apples a day can keep your cholesterol down. In a new study, researchers have found that adults who regularly consume apples saw their cholesterol levels drop by four percent compared against those who drank apple juice.
Apples are rich in a few phytonutrients: plant-based nutrients that can contribute to human health. When it comes to apples, they are rich in fiber and a set of micro-nutrients known as polyphenols. Health experts think these natural compounds play a major role in cholesterol reduction because they fuel bacteria in the gut that helps reduce cholesterol in the blood stream.
Cholesterol, of course, contributes to stiffening and narrowing of the arteries. It can also raise risk of both heart attack and stroke.
According to researcher Dr. Thanasis Koutsos, “One of the clear findings from this study is that simple small changes in our diet such as the daily introduction of two apples may have an important impact on markers of heart health.”
Now, it is crucial to note that the research involved a specific type of apple—known as Renetta Canada—which is particularly high in polyphenols (which, it should be noted, are also common to other fruits and vegetables). The presence of these polyphenols could serve to explain why two [Renetta Canada] apples per day appear to relax blood vessels under the skin.
It is also not exactly clear if it is the fiber or polyphenols in these particular apples that are responsible for the results found in the study.
As such, University of Reading Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition Professor, Julie Lovegrove, explains, “People who ate daily two large apples high in polyphenols had lower LDL cholesterol, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, and no reduction in good cholesterol compared to people having an apple-based drink.”
Indeed, the study followed 40 people of middle age and observed that those who ate two apples a day for two months had lower cholesterol than those who drank juice.
The lead study author goes on to say, “We believe the fiber and polyphenols in apples are important, and apples are a popular fruit among all ages, which are easy to eat and make great snack foods.”