Happy Valentine’s Day! Eat apples to promote heart health

The year’s most romantic holiday comes around next week. Rather than giving your sweetie waistline-widening sweets this Valentine’s Day, consider giving him or her apples instead!

Eat more apples, for heart health, all year longRecent research suggests that eating the equivalent of two apples a day may reduce risk factors related to heart disease, reports Florida State University’s Dr. Bahram Arjmandi, R.D. He and his colleagues randomly assigned women aged 45-65 to eat dried apples or prunes daily for a year; women who ate the equivalent of two fresh apples a day experienced an average 23 percent decline in LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol by about 4 percent. Those women also had lowered C-reactive protein, a marker for heart disease – and even lost weight, an average of over 3 pounds. Dr. Arjmandi presented his findings at the 2011 Experimental Biology conference in Washington, D.C., which drew approximately 13,000 scientists and related exhibitors.

“I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing… good cholesterol,” Dr. Arjmandi is quoted in a conference press release. “Everyone can benefit from consuming apples.”

As we wrote here recently: Keep in mind that, as our doctors and dietitians will tell us, we should take any new health news with a grain of salt and an eye on the big picture. Until a food’s health benefits are unequivocally proven in well-designed human feeding studies, we’re just guessing about what works. In the meantime, the prudent course is to eat a healthy, varied diet and exercise regularly. Of course, we hope you’ll include lots of apples in that diet!

In the meantime, celebrate Valentine’s Day with some gorgeous red apples – for you and your heart!

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