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Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol

Which common dried fruit is the most antioxidant-packed: apple rings, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried mango, prunes, or raisins?

January 10, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Images thanks to Scott Ehardt, Asabengurtza, Yosri, storebukkebruse, and Pvt pauline, via Wikimedia Commons.

Transcript

Dried fruit are convenient and packed with nutrition, but which ones are the best. Here’s raisins. Now this is per serving, per ounce, not per cup like with the berries. Here’s prunes, dried mangoes, which I love, so I was happy about. Dried apricots. Dried cherries, through the roof, with… goji berries at the top.

They also analyzed dried apple, where do you think they fit? I would have guessed towards the bottom, maybe even lower than raisins, but I would have been wrong. Dried apple rings landed way up here, making them one of the healthiest dried fruits on the planet.

In fact a preliminary report was released at a nutrition conference this year suggesting that daily dried apple consumption promotes cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women. Split the women into two groups and those forced to eat about 3 ounces of dried apple rings a day for a year saw their bad cholesterol drop 23%—that’s huge! LDL dropped 23%! The level of inflammation in their bodies plummeted, and you’d think if you made people add 240 calories worth of snacks to their daily diet they’d gain weight, but no they actually lost a couple pounds as a bonus.

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 MaryAnn Allison.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Check out the other videos on fruits and don't miss all the videos on ranking foods. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!

Also, be sure to check out my associated blog posts for more context: Acai to Zucchini: antioxidant food rankings, Amla: Indian gooseberries vs. cancer, diabetes, and cholesterol, The Most Anti-Inflammatory MushroomStool Size and Breast Cancer RiskThe Anti-Wrinkle DietDr. Greger's Natural Nausea Remedy RecipeApple Peels Turn On Anticancer GenesBest Dried Fruit For Cholesterol Raisins vs. Energy Gels for Athletic Performance, and Flaxseeds for Diabetes

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Check out the other videos on fruits and don’t miss all the videos on ranking foods. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!

    • Krista

      I’d really like to know if eating an apple, raw, each day would have similar effects. Does it have to be dried to give those kinds of results?

    • yardplanter

      Add this on apricots to the arsenal !
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19330262
      Antioxidant, antimicrobial, cheap

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/rami/ Rami

    Must they be dried? How about merely one raw apple, with the skin, a day? Is there something about the drying process that makes them particularly antioxidant-rich?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/ksduck/ ksduck

    This is a bit unrelated, but I eat a plant-based diet. I’m also a 20-something year old woman of child bearing age who runs, so making sure I’m getting enough iron from plant sources is important to me. I’ve heard that tannins in coffee, tea, and chocolate can hinder the adsorption of iron when consumed together. Is there evidence to support this? Thank you!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Quoting from “Green tea does not inhibit iron absorption” published 2009 in the International Journal of Cardiology, “The only reference that I could find in the literature about a negative effect of tea drinking on iron absorption came from Tunisia. But the experiment was carried out on rats. Therefore, unless you are a rat and a rat in Tunisia, you should not worry about development of iron deficiency anemia from tea drinking.” In 2008, though, a study in India found that drinking tea with meals could cut iron absorption in half. This is a function of publication delays. The cardiology journal piece was published in 2009 but was written in 2007, before the India study surfaced. The good news, though, is that the study found that vitamin C triples iron absorption, so as long as you’re drinking tea with lemon, or eating vitamin C rich foods at your meals (like citrus, broccoli, tropical fruits, bell peppers, etc.) then this shouldn’t be an issue. If, however, you don’t like lemon (and lemon in coffee? Yuck!) and aren’t eating these kinds of foods, then menstruating women may want to lay off tea and coffee (and cocoa and peppermint tea)during meals and up to an hour before to maximize iron absorption. In men (and nonmenstruating women), the reduction of iron absorption may not necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, the effect of coffee on iron absorption has been used to explain why coffee consumption has been found to be protective against diseases tied with iron overload like diabetes and gout.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/lvmichele/ LVMichele

    I’ve been playing with using dates & raisins to sweeten dishes. How would dates rank next to raisins for antioxidants & nutritional value?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      I’m so glad you’re experimenting with whole food sweeteners! I have a video on dates here: Are Dates Good For You? I’ll keep an eye out for comparative data. I also have more videos on raisins, like this one: The Healthiest Raisin.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/rosaleah/ rosaleah

    I eat dried fruits (prunes, raisins, apricots and now apples)daily. Please tell me your thoughts about what may be the cumulative effects on an aging body of sulphur dioxide preservatives used in processing fruits for drying.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/thea/ Thea

    Dried mangos can be hard to find without sugar. I found some on Amazon, but before I ordered them, I noticed that my local Trader Joes store has un-sweetened dried mangoes! They taste absolutely delicious. When torn into little pieces, they can take the place of raisins on the morning oatmeal. Yumm.

    So, those of you who want the mangoes, you don’t have to settle for sugar-crusted. Note: sadly, the Trader Joes version is *not* organic. The one I found on Amazon is.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/rosaleah/ rosaleah

    Thanks for your response about sulphur dioxide with relevant videos to view.

  • Avram

    I have recently read up on an essential oil ‘helichrysum’ and what is said is mindblowing. Is it really a cell-regenerator.

  • Crumbler

    Somehow I have gotten the idea that harmful substances in our environment,(either in water or air or ingested) is what causes tears in the inner lining of our coronary arteries. Then comes the cholesterol and other substances to repair the tear and this is what causes the athlersclerosis. If by chance this is close to correct, why isnt the emphesis on preventing the tears. I have never been convinced that cholesterol is the basic culprit seeing as h ow our body manufactures the amount of cholesterol it needs……or have I missed the mark ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/anita.burns1 Anita Burns

    How do I keep my home-dried fruit from developing bugs?

  • Tobias Brown

    This dried apples likely are high in fiber, or at least eating this many per day would tend to make you feel filled up a bit, no? So, do these studies control for the possibility that when eating dried apples the subjects eat less of their normal food, which could be the factor causing the health issues? So, it would be less that the apples are positive but that reducing their consumption of the other bad foods results in a positive outcome?

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

      I’m sure it is a factor. If you eat a plant(with fiber and no cholesterol and saturated fat) in lieu of any animal product(with cholesterol, saturated fat and no fiber) you would expect an improvement in cholesterol levels and an associated improvement in arterial disease. Figuring out the relative contribution of the antioxidants vs fiber vs decreased consumption of animal products could be done with the proper experimental design. I will be interested to read the full article to see the effects on triglycerides and uric acid(not mentioned in the abstract) as fruit does contain fructose which can increase triglycerides and uric acid in the blood. The weight loss mentioned in the article would imply that the dried fruit which is relatively calorie dense compared to a whole apple replaced a food that was more calorie dense in the diet. The abstract implies that there was no change in habitual dietary intake but given the limitation of instruments to track dietary intake I would take that statement with a grain of salt. The bottom line is that consumption of a moderate amount of fruit is good for us. Of course eating the whole apple will give you the nutrients plus water increasing bulk and based on studies lead to more weight loss… for the best introduction and overview of the concept of Calorie Density view Jeff Novick’s DVD… Calorie Density: How to Eat more, Weigh Less, and Live Longer.

  • http://treegrower.org/ Calvin Leman

    What about fresh apricots nutrition? I have plenty now.

  • Christopher Sobel

    Hello Dr. Greger, I was wondering if “Freeze Dried” fruits are ok to eat and a healthy snack? Obviously not if there are added sugars etc, but how about just plain Freeze Dried Fruits? I ask because asside from dried fruit and the fresh fruit I eat I do like the freeze dried for a on the road snack for the weekend. To be specific I am quite fond of Trader Joes Organinc Non GMO Freeze Dried Mangos, which say the only ingredient is Mango.

    • Thea

      Christopher: I share your love for the TJ’s freeze dried mangos!

      I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ve never heard of any health issues with freeze dried fruit. I thought that many of the nutrients were preserved that way. I will be interested to hear an answer to your question if the answer is even known.

      That said, I could be wrong, but I believe that the strawberry? (I can’t remember which berry) powder discussed in Dr. Greger’s video on reversing throat cancer was from freeze dried strawberries. Otherwise I don’t know how they would get it to be a powder. And that stuff helped reverse cancer! So, even if there are no specific studies on freeze dried vs other forms of fruit, I think it’s got to be pretty good for you.

      Just my 2 cents.

      • Christopher

        Thea, thank you for your comment your “two cents” was appreciated ;), I didn’t think they’d be bad since there really just fruit with the water removed but wasn’t 00% sure, I saw your earlier comment in regards to Trader Joes dried mango slices and there another Addiction of mine! But they sell out quick so when I see them I have to stock up :)

        • Thea

          Christopher: I thought it was a perfectly good question. You have to wonder if freeze-drying might harm the remaining nutrients in some way – the same way you would wonder if drying or cooking destroys something. Maybe they will do a study on this at some point.

          I know what you mean about TJ’s running out of stuff. I’ve learned to stock upon several things in their store when it is in.

          Best of luck to you.

    • http://www.eatandbeatcancer.com/ Harriet Sugar Miller

      The answer depends on the process used in freeze-drying. http://zesterdaily.com/cooking/tips-picking-unseasonal-berries/

      • Thea

        Harriet: Awesome find! Thanks so much for sharing that link. I found it really helpful.

  • Patrick

    I apologize if this was covered already, but is there any specific research on Amal and cholesterol? Despite being a no added oil vegan, my wife can’t get her cholesterol below 220, yet mine is 111. What dosage of Amal was used and how much reduction in Cholesterol did they see? I would rather she try this before drugs. Thank you.

    • Lisa M

      Well it looks like making an account here erased my long message so I will just say 4 ounces of pomegranate juice a day will lower it 20 points!! It did mine!!

    • Toxins

      Is your wife exercising regularly? Does she consume any processed foods? How many nuts, if any, is she eating?