Sure, we can all get apples from the grocery, but how many of them are actually fresh and organic. Apple season is soon ending as there's nothing like picking your own apple's at the orchard. Moreover, taking apples daily is one way of reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease.
"Previous studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of coronary artery disease," says Dianne Hyson, a registered dietitian and researcher.
Hyson and her colleagues previously conducted an in vitro, or lab study, to show that apples and their juice contain beneficial phytonutrients, or plant compounds, that function as potent antioxidants. Their next step was to conduct an in vivo, or human trial, to determine whether the compounds actually protect the heart by slowing the process of LDL oxidation.
Findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry add to the on-going debate over whether organically grown produce is more nutritious than conventionally grown produce. A report published in March 2008 by the Organic Center at America's Organic Trade Association argued that organic produce is 25 per cent more nutritious than conventional foodstuffs.
Catherine Bondonno, doctoral student in pharmacology at the University of Western Australia, researched the effect of apples on nitric oxide (NO) production and endothelial function, which affect cardiovascular health.
"The endothelium is a single layer of cells lining blood vessels and produces nitric oxide," says Bondonno.
Flavonoids, collectively known as Vitamin P and cirtrin, concentrate in the skin of apples, which also give fruits their distinctive flavours.
"Nitric oxide signals the surrounding muscles to relax, which causes the blood vessel to dilate increasing blood flow through the vessel," a Western Australia statement quoted her as saying.
Bondonno selected a group of healthy volunteers, who after undergoing a battery of tests, were randomly assigned to consume either the apple with skin first followed by the flesh only, or vice versa.
On the study day, an apple was eaten with breakfast and again with lunch to account for the varying times the flavonoids peak in the blood stream.
Results indicated that flavonoid rich apples improve nitric oxide status and endothelial functions, factors affecting cardiovascular health.