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Apples: Sweet & Nutritious Power Foods

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Apples, one of Cleveland Clinic's top heart-health fruits, are a perfect pick for boosting your antioxidant intake. Plus, they may help lower cholesterol, keep your tummy trim, and cut your risk of high blood pressure. Our tips and tasty treats make it easy to get your daily apple.

By Marsha McCulloch, M.S., R.D., L.D.

Eating apples could cut your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Victor Fulgoni III, Ph.D., of Nutrition Impact, LLC, in Battle Creek, Michigan, analyzed the government's largest nationwide food intake and health database and found that eating apples, versus not eating them, was associated with a:

  • 26 percent reduced likelihood of metabolic syndrome (a cluster of health conditions that increase heart disease and stroke risk)
  • 23 percent reduced risk of excess belly fat
  • 22 percent lower risk of high blood pressure
  • 14 percent reduced risk of high C-reactive protein levels (which signals inflammation and is a strong predictor of heart disease)

What's in this crisp and crunchy fruit that makes it so good for us? Apple researcher Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D., at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, says apples:

  • are one of our biggest sources of powerful antioxidants known as phenolics (based on the amount of apples we eat in the United States)
  • provide phytostanols, which are naturally occurring plant-base substances that may help lower cholesterol levels
  • offer cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber

Read on for tips on the tastiest apples, cooking with apples, and Heart-Healthy Living-approved apple recipes.

 
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