An Apple a Day for Lower Cholesterol?

An iconic example of a healthy food, the humble apple may provide yet another health benefit – lower cholesterol.  A recent study of 160 postmenopausal women compared consumption of 75 g/day of dried apples or plums over a year.  During the study, participants in both groups lost about 4 pounds of weight on average.  Compared to baseline, serum total and LDL cholesterol significantly decreased by 9% and 16%, respectively, after 3 months of eating apples, and decreased further by 13% and 24%, respectively, after 6 months of eating apples.  Although total and LDL cholesterol also decreased in the dried plum group from baseline to 12 months, the changes were smaller and not statistically significant.  Further research is needed to better understand these findings, since dried plums are also rich in a variety of compounds that function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.  However, these preliminary findings give one more reason to feel good about enjoying fruit each day, which is great news indeed, just in time for fall apple and plum season!

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