According to a new study, an apple a day could help to keep heart diseases in post-menopausal women at bay. In this study, flavonoid-rich apples were found to be one of three foods, along with red wine and pear, that decrease the risk of mortality for both coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among post-menopausal women.
Women of all ages are encouraged to consume more fruit and vegetables, including apples and apple products, for heart health. However, this study focused on postmenopausal woman, a group becoming more aware of the risk for heart disease.
As a result of the extensive analysis that considered what the women ate, the types of cardiovascular-related diseases they experienced, and the overall flavonoid content of an extensive list of foods, the researchers concluded that consumption of apples, pears and red wine were linked with the lowest risk for mortality related to both CHD and CVD (not just one or the other).
“Flavonoids are compounds found in small quantities in numerous plant foods, including fruits and vegetables, tea, wine, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices,” say the university researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Oslo (Norway) Earlier research has indicated that flavonoids also have antioxidant properties that are linked to the reduction of oxidation of the bad (LDL – low density lipoprotein) cholesterol which have been linked in various ways with the development of CVD.
The researchers also believe this is the first prospective study of postmenopausal women to report on the intake and impact of total and specific flavonoid subclasses. They conclude, “Dietary intakes of flavanones, anthocyanins, and certain foods rich in flavonoids were associated with reduced risk of death due to CHD, CVD and all causes.”
The publication of this positive study for apples comes on the heels of updated heart disease prevention guidelines for women just released by the American Heart Association in the February 20 issue of Circulation.
As part of their guidelines, AHA emphasizes that women increase their intake of fruits and vegetables to help prevent heart disease over their lifetime, not just to reduce short-term risk.