US researchers have found that apple contains a beneficial compound called phytonutrients, which slows down the process that can cause heart disease.
When LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol breaks down in blood it causes deposition of plaque in the coronary arteries resulting in atherosclerosis (narrowing and blocking of blood vessels due to deposition of fat on the inner wall of the blood vessels). Phytonutrients play a beneficial role in slowing down this breakdown of LDL cholesterol.
Recently a 12-week study was conducted on 25 healthy men and women who were divided into two groups. 12 ounces (approx. 355 ml) of 100% apple juice and 2 apples were added to the diet of each group respectively. The researchers then measured the oxidation lag time (i.e. time taken for the LDL cholesterol to oxidize or breakdown on getting exposed to certain chemicals). If the lag time is longer, the breakdown of LDL cholesterol is delayed and this further reduces the risk of developing heart disease.
In all the participants the lag time was measured before the study and at each 6-week interval and the studies showed that after 6 weeks the lag time was increased by 20% in the group that was on apple juice. Eating apples also had a favorable effect but it was not as marked as compared to the apple juice.
In fact, researchers have observed that including five portions of fruits (including fruit juices) and vegetables in daily diet provide the body with a good amount of antioxidants which slows down the process of oxidation, thereby reducing the risk of developing heart disease.