New Study Links Apples to Reduced Risk of Stroke
MCLEAN, VA - "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" continues to gain new scientific support, according to newly-published research that links apples to a reduced risk of stroke.
In a study released this week in the May issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Finnish researchers concluded there is an association between apple consumption and a reduced risk of stroke, after studying a large group of 9,208 Finnish men and women for more than 25 years. After following the study group for 28 years, researchers determined that study participants who ate the most apples had the lowest risk for stroke, where a blood clot starves part of the brain of oxygen.
"Apples, apple juice and other apple products have always been in the forefront of a healthy diet," noted Sue Taylor, R.D., director of nutrition communications for the Processed Apples Institute. "This and other recent research confirms what our Moms have known all along: that a serving of apples or apple juice really will keep the doctor away!"
"An apple a day, literally, appears to confer all kinds of health benefits, from heart and lung health to now stroke prevention," said Julia Daly, public relations director for the US Apple Association.
Two other epidemiological studies from Finland published in recent years found that consumption of plant-based "phytonutrients" found in apples were correlated with reductions in the risk of developing both heart disease and lung cancer. Both studies pointed to quercetin, from a class of phytonutrients called flavonoids, as the beneficial agent. Apples are the best fruit source of quercetin.
Last spring, researchers at the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis) reported that both apple juice and apples are loaded with these newly-identified phytonutrients now being praised for their health benefits. They found that apple flavonoids may help prevent the damaging effects of the "bad" type of cholesterol on the cardiovascular system.
The latest Finnish study suggests there may be more to apples' healthfulness than previously thought. Researchers reported that while there was a strong relationship between apple consumption and reduced risk of stroke, the benefit did not appear to be related to apples' high quercetin content - suggesting that some unidentified component in apples may be at work.
"Nutrients in apples and other foods work in complex synergy we don't completely understand, making it difficult to single out any one nutrient as responsible for apple's protective benefits," said UC-Davis researcher Dianne Hyson, M.S., RD "This study adds to the growing body of evidence that apples and apple juice are associated with a number of health benefits."
Source: The Processed Apples Institute