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Apples May Help Lower Bad Cholesterol

April 26, 1999|JANE E. ALLEN

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" may hold more truth than the wives of old ever knew. Scientists have been grinding up vegetables and fruits and examining their chemical properties to see which are indeed good disease fighters. Recently, researchers at UC Davis looked at six brands of unadulterated apple juice as well as the peels, flesh and fruit of fresh Red Delicious apples. They found the juice and extracts had the power to prevent so-called bad cholesterol from undergoing chemical changes that can lead to plaque formation in arteries. What happens in a test tube is a long way from what happens when people consume apple products. But the theory is that something in the apples, possibly chemicals called phenols, are acting as antioxidants, protecting the body against bad effects of LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Wine, tea and grape juice all contain compounds that lower bad cholesterol in laboratory studies. The Davis researchers, whose work was underwritten by a grant from the Processed Apples Institute in Atlanta, published their work in the April 16 issue of Life Sciences.

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