An apple a day keeps high cholesterol at bay?
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Women who eat dried apple every day for a year see a persistent decrease in their cholesterol levels, according to a new study.
In comparison, women who ate prunes daily maintained steady levels over a year, suggesting that the fruit could keep cholesterol numbers from rising.
"Both apples and dried plum are pretty powerful in keeping the cholesterol at bay," said Bahram Arjmandi, the lead author of the study and the chair of the department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University.
While eating fruit seems beneficial, the study could not say whether women's cholesterol would have been any different if they hadn't added the prunes or apples to their diets, because it did not include women who didn't eat one of the fruits.
Arjmandi said there have been earlier studies looking at the health effects of apples, but not a clear experiment in humans on whether eating them can alter risk factors for heart disease.
"As much as there is a feeling that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, there has not been much study done," he said.
Arjmandi and his colleagues asked 45 women to eat about 75 grams (roughly two apples' worth) of dried apple each day for a year.
In comparison, 55 women ate 100 grams of dried plum daily for a year.
At the beginning of the study and after three, six and 12 months, the women gave a blood sample to measure cholesterol.
All of the women had gone through menopause, a factor that is normally tied to a rise in cholesterol levels, Arjmandi said. And average levels started below 200 milligrams per decilitre of blood, the threshold above which guidelines typically say otherwise healthy people are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
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