What Can an Apple a Day Do?
By on October 2nd, 2012

Along with doctors, heart disease might be another in the list of things apples keep away. New research at Ohio State University funded by the United States Apple Association has shown that an apple a day can significantly decrease levels of a fatty molecule that is known to clog arteries.

Why do Arteries Get Clogged?

Oxidized low-density lipoproteins (OxLDL) are molecules of fat that have been found to be involved in atherosclerosis—the clogging of arteries. They are formed when free radicals in the body convert LDLs into OxLDLs. This is partly why LDLs (of which cholesterol is one) are so harmful. Their oxidised forms are more easily retained by arterial walls, making them persistent and an important factor in cardiovascular disease. In fact, a compound formed by the binding of OXLDL to a protein called beta2-glycoprotein (called OxLDL-beta2GP1) is thought to initiate the process of atherosclerosis.

An apple a day keeps fatty acids away. [Image Credit: wikipedia]

Apples Have Antioxidants

This is partly why antioxidants are so widely talked-about. They reduce the number of oxidizing reactions occurring in the body leading to the formation of harmful molecules. Apples are known to contain antioxidants too. To test the beneficial effects of apples in the diet, the research team recruited around 50 participants, all of whom were ages 40-60 and had no history of cardiovascular disease. These participants were divided into three groups. One group was made to eat an apple a day for 4 weeks, the second group was given a dose of polyphenols (a compound found in apples) for this duration and the third group was on a placebo. Four weeks isn’t a long time for such a change to be seen.

It was found that the levels of OxLDL-beta2GP1 significantly reduced in participants from the first group, and reduced to a smaller extent in participants from the second. This indicates that some component in apples apart from polyphenols is also responsible for the reduction.

While the exact mechanisms by which apples work their magic is not known, it is heartening to know that a moderate change in the diet can bring about a change in an atherosclerotic factor. You can read about this research here.

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Author: Shweta Ramdas
Beginning life as a grad student studying human genetics.

Shweta Ramdas has written and can be contacted at shweta@techie-buzz.com.

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