Apples are a pectin and polyphenol powerhouse
Surely, you’ve heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, now there is scientific evidence behind two apples a day – it keeps the cholesterol at bay.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a crossover study that explains how two intervention groups with moderately raised serum total cholesterol followed habitual diets and were either given two apples to eat per day or an energy-matched apple beverage for eight weeks. To no surprise, the two whole apples per day group saw tremendous benefit over the imitation beverage group. The participants decreased serum total cholesterol, including low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol.
But what was it about the apples that had such effects, you ask? Well, for one the fiber in the apples, particularly the pectin, played a major role. Pectin is a soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables. But, polyphenols may be of equal benefit. Polyphenols are also naturally found in fruits and vegetables and act as beneficial antioxidants. In this study in particular, researchers believe it was the synergistic effect of consuming 8.5 grams of fiber, 3.7 grams of soluble fiber, along with 990 milligrams of polyphenols per day in the apple-consuming group that helped lower the total cholesterol. So, whether you are aiming to reach your fiber grams per day goal or looking to boost your polyphenol intake, apples are certainly one way to do so.
When eating a whole food, like an apple, it plays into the whole food matrix in that all of the nutrients work together to function better in the body as compared to isolating or singling out one particular ingredient or nutrient. Keep in mind, this is not the first time we’ve heard that fiber and polyphenols are good for us, and we know that both are found in many fruits and vegetables.
Lucky for us in the US, apples are available year round, but early fall is when apple picking hits the weekend activity line-up. Give this Waldorf Salad or Cranberry Apple Stuffing recipe a try with your next abundance of apples, or you can’t go wrong with simple apple slices with peanut butter!
Published October 2020