An Apple A Day? Really?

We've all heard the expression, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but is there any truth to that? Well, researchers at Florida State University set out to discover whether there was any scientific evidence to back up this old adage-and the results of their studies may have you heading straight to your produce department.

In the study, 160 pre-menopausal women ages 45 to 65 were randomly separated into two groups. The first group ate 75 grams of dried apples daily, for one year, while the second group consumed dried prunes instead. Blood samples were withdrawn and studied at three, six and 12 months. At the six-month mark, the group of women consuming apples experienced a 23 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol, also known as the ‘bad cholesterol,' and a 4 percent increase in HDL cholesterol, the ‘good cholesterol.' They also benefitted from a reduction of lipid hydroperoxide levels, which can cause oxidative damage to cell membranes and other lipid-containing structures, and C-reactive protein, a protein found in the blood, which responds to inflammation.

Another astonishing discovery was weight loss. Even though the apple consumption imposed an additional 240 calories on participants' diets, no one experienced any weight gain. In fact, these women lost an average of 3.3 pounds. The study noted that weight loss may have been attributed to the pectin found in apples, an ingredient that is known to have a satiating effect.

While the study was limited to a specific gender and age demographic, and further research needs to be done to know for sure if these benefits will apply to everyone, it seems safe to say that an apple a day may at least keep the doctor at bay.