An apple a day keeps the doctor away

An apple a day keeps the doctor away keeps the doctor away, right? Well, not literally true, but figuratively. Apples are considered to be among the healthier fruits, but please note that many of their benefits come from the skin. Select firm, richly colored apples and keep them in the crisper with a damp cheesecloth for moisture. Apples are prone to having pesticide residue, so wash them thoroughly or buy organic.

Apples provide benefits in these areas:

Fiber: A medium apple contains 4.4 grams of dietary fiber, which is good in itself, but even better because it has both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is in the meat of the apple and it helps remove cholesterol, slows glucose absorption and promotes healthy bacteria in the colon. Insoluble fiber is found in the skin and it helps with the GI tract preventing constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticular disease.

Weight Loss: Both types of fiber help fill you up, which lets you eat less and so lose weight. One study found that eating an apple 15 minutes before a meal resulted in a net reduction of 60 calories.

Pholyphenols: These are anti-oxidants found mostly in the skin of apples. Polyphenols help control blood sugar and they reduce absorption of glucose from the digestive tract. Polyphenols and soluble fiber may contribute to cardiovascular health by improving cholesterol levels, decreasing oxidation of fats in the bloodstream, reducing inflammation, and are linked to lower C-reactive protein levels.

Cancer: Apples are one of the few individual fruits to have a direct benefit on cancer. For unknown reasons, they reduce the risk of lung cancer; interestingly, they also seem to fight asthma. Other cancers that apples may protect against include colorectal, larynx, breast and ovarian.

Brain: Some studies have found that apples help prevent the decline of acetylcholine, a neurtransmitter, as we age.

So, listen to your momma and eat an apple every day. You will probably still have to see the doctor, but less often.

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