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Prospective studies and animal research suggest that apple or its bioactive components modulate lipid metabolism, and reduce fat mass and the production of proinflammatory molecules. However, there is a paucity of such research in humans. Hence, we conducted a one-year clinical trial evaluating the cardioprotective effects of apple consumption in postmenopausal women. We hypothesized that regular intake of apple favorably improves lipid profiles, reduces atherogenic risk ratios, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, and the levels of oxidative stress markers in postmenopausal women. This study was conducted in postmenopausal women because a decline in estrogen levels places them at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Qualified women (160) were randomly assigned to one of the two dietary intervention groups: dried apple (75 g/day) or dried plum (comparative control). Overnight fasting blood samples were collected at baseline, 3-, 6-, and 12-month to measure various parameters. Confounding factors that may influence lipid metabolism such as physical activity and dietary intake were also assessed. The findings indicated that daily incorporation of dried fruits into diet did not affect total energy intake throughout the study period. More importantly, the additional daily caloric intake of approximately 240 from dried apple not only did not increase body weight but lowered it by 1.5 kg compared to baseline body weight. In terms of lipid profiles, apple consumption significantly reduced serum levels of TC and LDL-C by 14% and 23%, respectively. In addition, atherogenic risk ratios such as TC/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C decreased in postmenopausal women that consumed dried apple compared to control. The present study also suggests that regular apple consumption improves other important parameters involved in CVD such as reducing lipid hydroperoxide (33%) and CRP (32%) levels. In conclusion, regular apple consumption is encouraged because of its favorable effects on lipid profiles, oxidative status, and proinflammatory molecules.
Apple, Cardiovascular Health, Postmenopausal Women
Date of Defense
October 29, 2010.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Kenneth Brummel-Smith, University Representative; Jeong-Su Kim, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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