High cholesterol triggers inflammation and the release of a certain hormone causing blood vessels to constrict, thereby raising blood pressure readings. The culprits can substantially hike the risk of both heart attack and stroke. Both conditions, however, could be reversed with one fruit shown to have strong effects for maintaining good cardiovascular health and boosting longevity.
Apples provide minerals such as potassium and substances called flavonoids, both of which are linked to blood pressure.
A study published in the Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition in 2020, found that consuming between 1000 and 150g of whole apples was associated with a lower cardiovascular risk in blood pressure.
The study, which included 30 healthy men and women aged between 33 and 70 years old, assessed the act effects of whole apples on blood pressure.
The participants of the study were randomly assigned into four different groups.
Findings showed that those who consumed 120 grams of apple flesh and 80 grams of apple skin significantly reduced their systolic blood pressure mean values by 3.3 mm Hg.
Blood pressure is measured through systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is when the heart contracts, forcing blood through the arteries. When the heart is at rest between beats, blood pressure falls to its lowest value, which is referred to as diastolic pressure.
A typically healthy individual produces a systolic pressure between 90 ad 120 mm Hg (mercury), and diastolic pressure between 60 and 80 mm Hg, Taken together, a normal blood reading is a bit less than 120/90 mm Hg.
The researchers also concluded that the evidence provided by the studies demonstrated that intake of at least one whole apple a day is significantly associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality risk by 14 percent.
The NHS as a general guide recommended that total cholesterol levels should be 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults.
In the UK, three out of five adults have total cholesterol levels of 5mmol/L or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7mmol/L, which can be a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.
High cholesterol – notably LDL or “bad cholesterol” – builds up on the wall of the arteries and triggers a release of inflammatory substances that hike the risk of heart attack.
Apples are a great source of soluble fibre, which is known for lowering the LDL cholesterol in the body.
Researchers have pointed out that eating two or three medium apples a day could offer slight improvements in your lipid profile.
Notably, consuming up to two to three medium-sized apples could lower total cholesterol by up to 10 percent, and raise “good” HDL cholesterol by 10 percent.
Researchers believe the ingredients most likely contributing to improved cholesterol levels are pectin and polyphenols.
Furthermore, the polyphenols contained in apples may lower the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries.