February 8, 2012
PERTH, AustraliaConsuming a diet rich in apples, particularly the Pink Lady variety that contains the highest levels of flavonoids among apples, helps promote heart health, according to a study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine Journal.
Researchers at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Department of Agriculture and Food examined the heart health benefits of apples rich in flavonoids. The acute effects of flavonoid-rich apples were assessed in 30 healthy men and women over one day. Participants were given an apple meal that either was or wasn't enriched with apple flavonoids. The treatments were switched on different days, at least one week apart, so all participants had each treatment.
They found flavonoid-rich apples improve blood vessel relaxation and enhance nitric oxide status, which causes blood vessel relaxation. A reduced ability of the blood vessels to relax may cause high blood pressure and heart disease.
The researchers screened 25 advanced pre-breeding varieties and seven commercial varieties for flavonoids. The noted Washington-bred Cripps Pink variety (sold as Pink Lady) had the highest flavonoid level, which was found mainly in the skin.
The researchers said the findings will help to develop new apple varieties with increased flavonoid levels in either the skin or the pulp or the whole fruit.
Additional information about the health benefits of apples is available in the An Apple a Day: The Health Benefits of Apples" image gallery.
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