An apple a day…

…well, you know how the saying goes.

But you won’t find me throwing that phrase around. At the end of the day, sugar is sugar, whether it’s from fruit or a factory. And apples are full of it.

Even so, this might be one indulgence you want to make room for on occasion–especially if you’re concerned about your heart health.

As part of a recent small study, researchers gave 16 healthy adults a large Red or Golden Delicious apple to eat every day for four weeks. Meanwhile, 17 adults took capsules of mixed apple polyphenols, while 18 took a placebo.

Results at the end of the trial showed that a daily apple lowered artery-clogging LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) levels by 40 percent. An impressive effect, by any standard.

Apple season is in full swing–so now you have one more reason to head out to your local Farmer’s Market. Just keep in mind that too much fruit can sabotage your blood sugar control and weight loss efforts. That’s why, generally, I advise limiting your apple-eating to a few times a month.

Yes, it’s a far cry from an “apple a day.” But luckily, this study also showed that a daily apple polyphenol supplement offers artery-clearing perks that are comparable to its whole fruit counterpart…without a blast of fructose on the side.

“Intakes of apples or apple polyphenols decrease plasma values for oxidized low-density lipoprotein/beta2-glycoprotein I complex.” Journal of Functional Foods.