Apples were always a favorite at our dinner table as I grew up. My grandfather used to say that a couple of slices after lunch or dinner were great to “clean out” the mouth, and of course, I know I am not the only one who heard his mother repeat that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” As it turns out, an apple a day seems to keep the doctor away, more specifically, the cardiologist.
A recent study described in this article on CBSNews.com concluded that eating an apple a day can bring significant declines in heart disease risk factors. In addition to sharp declines in the level of LDL (bad cholesterol), the participants also experienced declines in C-reactive protein (a sign of systemic inflammation related to high cardiovascular disease risk), but most importantly, slight increases in the levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Apples are also low in calories, contain lots of vitamin C and A, and also contain boron, a bone-building material.
Another fruit that received accolades through a recent press release were tart cherries. New research presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting showed that tart cherries are a powerful antioxidant that may help reduce heart disease risk factors.
The studies found that cherry-enriched diets in animals lowered heart disease risk by lowering total blood cholesterol and reducing total body weight, especially “belly fat” that is most often associated with heart disease risk. The studies also showed that including tart cherries in a diet (either through consumption of cherry juice or dried cherries) reduces cardiovascular risk – mainly by lowering triglycerides – and atherosclerosis. Lastly, tart cherries are a powerful antioxidant, which prevents and slows oxidative damage.
One quick warning, tart cherry juice takes some getting used to. It is just that….tart!!
Published On: April 12, 2011