A comparison of the cholesterol-lowering potential of four dried fruit—apples, dates, figs, and plums.
Daily dried apples versus daily dried plums: impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors in postmenopausal women. First thing I thought was well, was the study funded by the U.S. Apple Association or the international prune association? Turns out neither—just our taxpayer dollars hard at work—great! So what'd they find? 160 older women randomly assigned to a dried apple group or a dried plum group and followed for a year. A dozen dried apple rings a day or about 8 prunes. Within 3 months, a significant drop in cholesterol in the apple group, which stayed down throughout the rest of the study. Both dried fruit regimens lower c-reactive protein levels about the same, though perhaps dried plums may cause a quicker decrease in inflammation whereas dried apples may result in a greater decrease overall. 12 apple rings is equivalent to eating about 2 apples a day. They think that the cholesterol-lowering properties of apples may be due to its unique pectin fiber composition, which may increase fecal excretion of bile. Or the apple phytonutrients alone, even without the fiber, appear to lower cholesterol on their own. What about dried figs? The California Fig Board did not want to be left out— sponsors of both figfest and figfeast, as well this recent study. 14 figs a day—that's a lot of figs—for 5 weeks and… nothin': Daily consumption of figs did not reduce bad cholesterol. And finally, what about dates? 4 or 5 dates a day for a month and again, nothing, though they did tend to bring down triglyceride levels, which is surprising given the sugar content in dates. A recent study on the glycemic index of dates found them surprisingly low. Here's what straight sugar water does to your blood sugars, and here's that same amount of sugar, but in date form. Dates beat out other common fruits in terms of containing more vitamins and minerals, in fact they’re touted as the richest source of dietary minerals, but because they're dried they have about 5 times more calories than fresh fruits So in terms of nutrient density they're really quite comparable with these others, though apples have them clearly beat when it comes to lowering cholesterol.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Jonathan Hodgson.
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This supports the extraordinary findings detailed in Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol. More on dried fruit can be found in Better Than Goji Berries, Amla Versus Diabetes, and To Snack or Not to Snack? Those with asthma may want to choose dried fruits without the preservative sulfur dioxide.
Prunes may not help our cholesterol, but they may improve the health of our skin—see Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep. That's of course in addition to their customary regularity role, something I'm going to address in the next video Prunes vs. Metamucil vs. Vegan Diet.
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