Just two apples a day may help protect women against cardiovascular disease by slashing the levels of cholesterol, found researchers from Florida State University in the US. Post-menopausal women are most at risk of heart attacks and strokes, but eating apples daily may reduce their blood fat levels significantly.
Heart disease or a stroke is the biggest single cause of death among post-menopausal women. In a bit to analyze if eating two apples a day could have significant effect on cardiovascular disease, researchers, conscripted one hundred and sixty women who had been through the menopause.
Half of the study participants eat seventy-five grammes of dried apple a day, which is equivalent to two medium sized fresh apples. Another half of study participants were told to eat the similar quantity of prunes to see if they have analogous effect. Each study participant was taken blood test after every three months for one year.
The study finding s showed that after three months total cholesterol levels in apple-eating group had dropped nine percent and LDL( low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels dropped by sixteen percent. Besides, after six months the levels dropped further, with total cholesterol dropped by thirteen percent and LDL cholesterol levels dropped by twenty-four percent.
On the other hand, prunes also reduced cholesterol levels slightly but not to the same extent as the dried apple. The researcher noticed the biggest reduction in low-density lipoprotein, the so-called bad cholesterol, which furs up arteries and increases the risk of a life-threatening clot forming near the heart or brain.
The study findings support the earlier evidence that apples could be good for the heart. Women appeared to have a natural immunity to heart disease and the rate of illness is only a third of that seen in men. But from the age of around fifty onwards, the incidence heart disease increases sharply particularly in women.
The study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.