Heart : Apples for a Healthy Heart

February is American Heart Health Month, and USApple is spending each day of the month reminding individuals that eating apples can be one of the most convenient and accessible ways to fight many of the factors that contribute to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

“An Ohio State University study recently found that eating an apple a day for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL – the bad cholesterol – by 40 percent,” said Wendy Brannen, Director of Consumer Health and Public Relations for USApple, which represents apple growers and all segments of the apple industry. “Packed with powerful antioxidants, apples are a super food found in every super market year round. During this important time to think about good-for-the-heart foods, we want to give individuals 28 reasons and ways they can add an apple – or two! – to their daily diets.”

To help inspire a heart healthy lifestyle, USApple and its members are offering consumers apple-related prizes on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/USAppleAssociation, through Feb. 28. USApple’s apple tip or fact a day for February:

1. Fact: A 4oz. glass of apple juice counts as a serving toward the recommended USDA dietary guidelines.

2. Tip: Warm up with a bowl of Apple Corn Chili: http://www.usappleblog.org/recipe-apple-corn-chili/ – heart healthy and only 360 calories per serving.

3. Fact: A University of Florida study found eating two apples a day reduced LDL by 23%.

4. Tip: Cut fat and calories by substituting applesauce for oil when baking.

5. Fact: Studies show people who eat apples or apple products regularly are more likely to have lower blood pressure and trimmer waistlines.

6. Tip: Try a double dose of hearth healthy foods with this Quinoa Salad with Apples recipe: http://www.usappleblog.org/quinoa-salad-with-apples/.

7. Fact: Researchers from State University of Rio de Janeiro found that overweight women who eat three apples a day lost more weight on a low calorie diet than women who didn’t add fruit to their diet.

8. Tip: Visit http://www.AppletizeMe.com to discover which heart-healthy apple variety best matches your personality.

9. Fact: Apples are among the tastiest and best sources of soluble fiber.

10. Tip: Toss a bag of pre-sliced apples in your lunchbox, backpack or briefcase for a crisp, convenient pick−me−up anytime. http://www.usappleblog.org/featured-apple-product-pre-cut-apple-slices/

11. Fact: Researchers from the University of Oxford found regularly eating apples after the age of 50 can prevent or delay vascular-related death, such as heart attack and stroke.

12. Tip: Try a healthier alternative to pizza with this Whole Wheat Flatbread with Apples, Walnuts and Gorgonzola recipe. http://www.usappleblog.org/whole-wheat-flatbreads-with-apples-walnuts-and-gorgonzola/

13. Fact: Some studies indicate the antioxidants in apple juice may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.

14. Tip: Do you and your Valentine fondue? Try this sweet chocolate Apple Fondue recipe with your sweetheart (it’s OK to splurge a little sometimes, especially with apples!). http://www.usappleblog.org/january-recipe-sweet-and-savory-fondue-with-apples/

15. Fact: Researchers found that daily apple consumption is significantly more effective at lowering oxidized LDL than other antioxidants, including green tea and tomato extract.

16. Tip: Refrigerate apples as soon as possible to slow ripening and maintain flavor. Properly-refrigerated apples can keep anywhere from 4-6 weeks.

17. Fact: Ursolic acid, a natural compound found in the apple’s skin, may prevent muscle wasting that can result from aging or illness.

18. Tip: Wash each apple under cool, running water and dry with a clean paper towel before serving.

19. Fact: U.S. researchers report that for every 10 grams of fiber consumed per day the risk of developing heart disease may decrease 14 percent, and the risk of dying from heart disease may decrease 27 percent. Fiber from fruits appeared to be slightly more protective than cereal fiber, lowering the risk of coronary disease death by 30 percent.

20. Tip: To prevent browning, cut and coat apple slices and dices in a mixture of one part lemon juice to three parts water, in vitamin C-fortified 100% apple juice or in a commercial, anti-browning product. Eat within two hours, or refrigerate immediately until use.

21. Fact: A French study found that diets with the highest total dietary fiber and nonsoluble dietary fiber intakes were associated with a significantly lower risk of several heart disease risk factors, including overweight, elevated waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

22. Tip: Select apples that are firm to the touch, have a good aroma and are free of skin breaks and bruises.

23. Fact: The health benefits of apples and apple products were first recorded as early as medieval times, giving rise to the old English saying “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed makes the doctor beg his bread,” an earlier take on “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

24. Tip: Dried apples are a great alternative to fresh apples slices and easily added to breakfast foods, baked goods, granola and more. Here’s how to dry apples at home. http://www.usappleblog.org/featured-apple-product-dried-apples/

25. Fact: A study of post-menopausal women found increased consumption of apples may contribute to a decrease in mortality from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

26. Tip: Science Daily reports walnuts are the heart healthiest nut.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110327191040.htm Here’s a convenient way to pair apples with walnuts. http://appletizeme.com/crispin-walnut-butter-granola/

27. Fact: Producers grow more than 2,500 apple varieties in the U.S. Each apple from the more than 250 million grown annually are gently hand-picked. http://www.usappleblog.org/slice-of-life-chill-out-with-apples-year-round/ Delicate transportation and cold storage ensure Americans can enjoy heart-healthy apples year-round.

28. Tip: Get apple inspiration year-round by signing up for USApple’s e-newsletter (http://www.usappleblog.org/sign-up.html), featuring fresh recipes, more tips and profiles of apple producers nationwide.

Sources for these and other studies are available by contacting USApple (http://www.USApple.org).

About U.S. Apple Association The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) is the national trade association representing all segments of the apple industry. Members include 40 state and regional apple associations representing the 7,500 apple growers throughout the country, as well as more than 400 individual firms involved in the apple business. USApple's mission is to provide the means for all segments of the U.S. apple industry to join in appropriate collective efforts to profitably produce and market apples and apple products. More information on the organization is available at http://www.usapple.org.

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