Rafed English

Two apples a day 'keeps heart doctor away'

‘Just two apples a day could cut risk of heart disease by cutting cholesterol levels’, the Daily Mail tells us.

The news follows a trial in which post-menopausal women who ate either dried apples or prunes (dried plums) every day for a year had their blood cholesterol measured regularly. Researchers found that cholesterol levels were significantly lower in the women who ate dried apples than those who ate dried plums, but only at six months, not at any other time they were measured.

Before Granny Smith rushes out to buy a pound of pippins, it is important to remember that though women who ate dried apples had a reduction in their cholesterol levels, the study only found significant differences between their cholesterol levels and those in the prune group at six months. 

This relatively small trial also suffered from high drop-out rates, which limits the reliability of results as the women who dropped out may have had different results to those who stayed in the trial. The high drop-out may also suggest that eating a daily dose of dried fruit for a year may not be to everyone’s taste.

While high cholesterol is a known risk factor for heart disease, the media have assumed that this difference in cholesterol will cut risk of heart disease, and we cannot be certain that this would be the case.

Nevertheless, the study supports the general health message that fruit is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Together with a healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity, this is the best way to stay healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease.

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