Cholesterol has gotten a bad rap. Not all forms are harmful, even at high levels. The only form you need to avoid is oxidized LDL cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol comes into contact with free radicals, it can cause inflammation and tissue damage – setting the stage for atherosclerosis. With free radicals, the obvious answer is antioxidants, which battle free radicals. And while all antioxidants lower oxidized LDL, not all antioxidants are equal in their effectiveness.
Recently, a study funded by apple growers found that eating an apple a day truly will keep the doctor away. And they’re particularly effective at keeping the cardiologist away.
To conduct the study, the researchers had 16 participants eat a Red or Golden Delicious apple every day for four weeks. Another 17 volunteers took a capsule containing 194 mg of polyphenols daily for the same four weeks. And the placebo group of 18 people took a placebo.
The researchers found that eating apples daily for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol by 40% – dramatically cutting the risk for hardening of the arteries.
What’s more, apples lowered oxidized LDL better than curcumin, green tea, or tomato extract. And they were more effective than supplements containing polyphenols – the active chemicals that lowers LDL. The group taking the capsules saw some effect, but not as dramatic as the apple eaters. And the placebo group didn’t see any impact on oxidized LDL.
Apples are great for your health. Eating them every day has been a mainstay of good nutrition for centuries. Today, however, apples pose certain health problems. That’s because apples are one of the most sprayed fruits. Orchards regularly spray them with antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals. In fact, they spray more antibiotics on apples than any other fruit. So when you buy your apples, make sure you buy organic apples. They’re more expensive, but they’re worth it.
To keep your heart and vascular system healthy, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, especially organic apples. They’re high in various protective antioxidants. While some specific foods may be higher than others, all of them support good heart health. Apple peels are packed with powerful polyphenols like quercetin, catechins, and proanthocyanidins. In fact, gram for gram, apple peels have more antioxidant power than just about any other food. That explains why this study found them to be so effective at keeping your heart healthy.
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On the days when my diet may be lacking enough fruits and veggies, I take two capsules of Reduloxin
, an anti-inflammatory plant-based supplement. It’s my insurance against oxidized cholesterol. If you can’t eat an apple every day, you might also want to consider taking one capsule of AppleBoost
on those days when you miss. It’s a concentrated apple-peel supplement that delivers a powerful dose of antioxidants. While the apples proved more effective than the supplement in this study, taking the supplement was much better than nothing.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
ScienceDaily, October 2, 2012.