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Two apples a day keeps cholesterol away

Two apples a day reduce the levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the blood and the incidence of cardiovascular disease. This is what emerges from a clinical study just published on The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (1) The work is carried out by the University of Reading (GB) in collaboration with the Edmund Mach Foundation, using a variety of Italian apples particularly rich in polyphenols.

Apple and apple juice-based sweetened drink compared, the clinical study

British researchers recruited 43 healthy individuals - 25 women and 18 men, aged 29 to 69 - with mild hypercholesterolemia. Volunteers underwent a preliminary diet period to standardize the sample. (2) Which has been divided into two groups:

- the first group added to his daily diet two apples a day (340g), with peel but without seeds, of the Renetta Canada variety, grown in Trentino and supplied by the Melinda Cooperative Consortium,

- the control group instead he took every day, as an alternative to apples, 500ml of a drink with concentrated apple juice (50%), water and sugar. With an overall quantity of sugars equal to that of the two apples.

After 8 weeks, in the group treated with the two apples there was an improvement in the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, with a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels and an increase in microvascular vasodilation.

The advantages of the apple

Between apples and drinks based on fruit, there is a nutritional gulf, which the study in question sums up well. The two rennets consumed by the volunteers provide 8,5g of fiber, compared to 0,5g for the juice drink. As for the polyphenols, the apples used in the study provide 990mg, the drink 2,5mg. But there is also more.

'Studies are needed [...] to explore the potential mechanisms, which are likely to involve BA signaling (bile acid, ed) and / or small phenolic acids derived from apple polyphenols, both linked to gut microbiota metabolism', conclude the British researchers.

Apple and micromobioma

The intestinal microbiome - that is to say the community of microorganisms that interact with the central nervous system through the intestine (also called 'second brain') for the regulation of various body functions - once again appears to be the key to activating the health benefits.

It would have been interesting the comparison with organic rennet apples. In fact, the scientific evidence that associates the consumption of apples with protection against cardiovascular pathologies (3) is in fact added to greater richness of the microbiome of organic apples in comparison with conventional ones.

Footnotes to the story

(1) Athanasios Koutsos, Samantha Riccadonna, Maria M Ulaszewska, Pietro Franceschi, Kajetan Trošt, Amanda Galvin, Tanya Braune, Francesca Fava, Daniele Perenzoni, Fulvio Mattivi, Kieran M Tuohy, Julie A Lovegrove. Two apples a day lower serum cholesterol and improve cardiometabolic biomarkers in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz282

(2) In the two weeks preceding the start of the research, the volunteers eliminated from their diet all food attributable to apples, as well as probiotics and prebiotics

(3) Epidemiological studies suggest that frequent apple intake is inversely associated with acute coronary syndrome, total cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. V.

- Hansen L., Dragsted L., Olsen A., Christensen J., Tjønneland A., Schmidt E., & Overvad K. (2010). Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of acute coronary syndrome. British Journal of Nutrition, 104 (2), 248-255. doi: 10.1017 / S0007114510000462

- Hodgson J., Prince R., Woodman R., Bondonno C., Ivey K., Bondonno N., Lewis J. (2016). Apple intake is inversely associated with all-cause and disease-specific mortality in elderly women. British Journal of Nutrition, 115 (5), 860-867. doi: 10.1017 / S0007114515005231

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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