Dried apples may cut heart disease risk, study suggests

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ldl cholesterol, Cardiovascular disease

Consumption of dried apples may lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women by slashing levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol by almost a quarter, according to new research data.

The one year clinical trial – published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics​ – evaluated the effect of dried apple and plum (prune) consumption in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors in postmenopausal women.

Led by Professor Bahram Arjmandi of Florida State University, USA, the research team found that neither after three months total cholesterol levels in the group that ate apples dropped by 9% and LDL – often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol – dropped by 16%. These levels were found to be even lower after six months, with total cholesterol down 13% and LDL levels slashed by 24%.

“Our findings show that daily incorporation of dried apple into diets favorably improves cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women,”​ said Arjmandi and his colleagues, who noted that whilst prunes lowered cholesterol levels slightly, they did not achieve cholesterol reductions to the same extent as dried apple.

Study details

The study involved 160 women who were randomly assigned to eat about 2.7 ounces (75 g) of dried apples or prunes (dried plums) daily. Researchers did blood tests at the three-, six- and 12-month marks to measure heart-risk factors.
 
 The research team noted that neither of the dried fruit diets significantly affected the participants’ reported total energy intake throughout the study period.

Analysis of fasting blood samples revealed that dried apple consumption had reduced total cholesterol by 9%, and LDL cholesterol by 16% at the three month mark.

At both the six and twelve month marks total cholesterol had reduced by 13% and LDL cholesterol by 24%.

These reductions were large enough to be statistically significant, noted the author – who added that total cholesterol was reduced by 3.5% and LDL cholesterol by 8% at 12 months for the prune group (a finding that was not statistically significant).

However, Arjmandi noted that consumption of both dried apple and dried plums were beneficial in terms of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.

Source: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics​ 
Volume 112, Issue 8​, Pages 1158–1168, doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.05.005
“Daily Apple versus Dried Plum: Impact on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Postmenopausal Women”
Authors: Sheau C. Chai, Shirin Hooshmand, Raz L. Saadat, Mark E. Payton, Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Bahram H. Arjmandi, 

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