May 2004 Issue--Eating a couple of apples a day may significantly cut heart disease risk, according to a study published in the February 23, 2004 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

To estimate the association between dietary fiber intake and risk of coronary heart disease, researchers evaluated data from 10 prospective cohort studies in the U.S. and Europe involving 91,058 men and 245,186 women. Researchers recorded the amount of fiber in participants' diets over a period of 6-10 years. Nine of the 10 studies reported that higher fiber consumption correlated with reduced heart disease risk. For every 10g of fiber consumed per day, the risk of developing heart disease decreased 14%, and the risk of dying from heart disease decreased 27%.

Researchers did not identify a specific protective mechanism in this study, although fiber has been shown to reduce heart disease risk in many ways, such as by improving blood lipid profiles, lowering blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity, the study noted.

Apples are one of the richest sources of fruit fiber. A medium apple contains about 5g of fiber. For more information, see media/newsreleases/index.shtml and content/abstract/164/4/370.