Apples: A Good Food For The Heart

Apples are generally good for our health. They contain important nutrients that may help us lower our risk of various health problems like heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and many more. This delicious and easy to carry snack has most of its vitamin C underneath the skin. Also, eating its skin increases insoluble fiber content.

How It Benefits The Heart?

Many studies have linked the consumption of apples to a lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases. This effect may be related to the cholesterol-lowering benefits of the soluble fiber found in apples (1).

Apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thereby reducing the incidence of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system (2).

The fiber content of apples as well as its polyphenols (an antioxidant that is concentrated in the peel) work together to help improve cholesterol levels (lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol). Eating 2 apples a day for 8 weeks had significantly lowered down LDL cholesterol levels of subjects, according to a small clinical trial (3).

Results of a study also revealed that eating apples (or pears) regularly was associated with a 52 percent lower stroke risk (4).

Flavonoid epicatechin, one of the polyphenols present in apples may help lower blood pressure, reduce LDL oxidation, and act as antioxidants, thus preventing heart diseases (5).

A study showed that high intakes of flavonoids were linked to a 20% lower risk of stroke (6). Likewise, another study demonstrated that for every 25 grams — about 1/5 cup of apple slices — consumed, the risk of stroke decreased by 9% (7).

Researchers from the University of California-Davis found that apples and apple juice may help slow the oxidation process that is involved in the build-up of plaque that leads to heart disease. Adding only two apples or 12 ounces of apple juice to the participants’ daily diet has shown positive effects (8).

What’s more? Apples are also high in potassium, a mineral that helps control blood pressure, thus helping reduce the risk of stroke (8).