"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"
The health benefits of apple include improved digestion, prevention of stomach disorders, gallstones, constipation, liver disorders, anemia, diabetes, heart disease, rheumatism, eye disorders, a variety of cancers, and gout. It also helps in improving weakness and provides relief from dysentery. Apples also help in treating dysentery. Furthermore, they can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Finally, they aid in dental care and skin care.
pples are some of the most popular and delicious fruits on the planet, and there is nothing like biting into a bright, red, juicy apple to quench your thirst and satisfy your sweet tooth, all while boosting your health in a major way. The apple is a pomaceous fruit whose tree belongs to the Rosaceae family, and it has the scientific name of Malus domestica. Its ancestor is the Malus sieversii, which still grows wild in numerous parts of Central Asia. They have been cultivated for thousands of years throughout Asia and Europe, and they make appearances in the cultural history of many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Nordic tribes.
Nutritional profile of apples
- Apples contain almost no fat, sodium or cholesterol.
- Apples deserve to be called "nutritional powerhouses". They contain the following important nutrients:
- Vitamin C - a powerful natural antioxidant capable of blocking some of the damage caused by free radicals, as well as boosting the body's resistance against infectious agents, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
- B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B-6) - these vitamins are key in maintaining red blood cells and the nervous system in good health.
- Dietary fiber - the British National Health Service2 says that a diet high in fiber can help prevent the development of certain diseases and may help prevent the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood from rising.
- Phytonutrients - apples are rich in polyphenolic compounds". These phytonutrients help protect the body from the detrimental effects of free radicals.
Apples May Be Good for Weight LossApples are high in fiber and water — two qualities that make them filling.
In one study, participants who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller than those who consumed applesauce, apple juice or no apple products.
In the same study, those who started their meal with apple slices also ate an average of 200 fewer calories than those who didn't.
In another study, 50 overweight women added either apples or oat cookies to their diets for 10 weeks. Each item had a similar calorie and fiber content. Those who ate apples lost an average of 2 lbs (1 kg) and ate fewer calories overall.
Apples May Be Good for Your HeartApples have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
One reason may be that apples contain soluble fiber, which is the kind that can help lower your blood cholesterol levels.
They also contain polyphenols, which have antioxidant effects. Many of these are concentrated in the peel.
One of these polyphenols is a flavonoid called epicatechin, which may lower blood pressure.
An analysis of studies found that high intakes of flavonoids were linked to a 20% lower risk of stroke.
Flavonoids can help prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL oxidation and acting as antioxidants.
Another study compared the effects of eating an apple a day to taking statins, which are a class of drugs known to lower cholesterol. It estimated that apples would be almost as effective at reducing death from heart disease as statins.
They're Linked to a Lower Risk of DiabetesSeveral studies have linked eating apples to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes .
In one large study, eating an apple a day was linked to a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to not eating any apples. Even eating just a few apples a week had a similarly protective effect.
It's possible that the polyphenols in apples help prevent tissue damage to beta cells in the pancreas. Beta cells produce insulin in the body and are often damaged in people with type 2 diabetes.
Protect Against Metabolic Syndrome
People who eat apples may be less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Joyce Hendley reported in EatingWell Magazine that researchers who analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) data, a survey of eating and health habits, found that people who had eaten apples in any form over the past day were 27 percent less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome than those who didn’t.
The apple eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation whose presence in the blood suggests an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Aids in DigestionApples, being rich in fiber, help in the digestive process. Regular consumption of apples ensures smooth bowel movements and helps in preventing constipation and various stomach disorders. Fiber is an important part of any diet.
It adds bulk to the stool and helps food pass through the digestive tract smoothly. Furthermore, it stimulates peristaltic motion so the muscles contract appropriately and move food along.
Finally, it stimulates the release of gastric and digestive juices to ensure efficient uptake of nutrients, while simultaneously scraping excess cholesterol out of your veins and arteries to ensure proper heart health and reduce chances of atherosclerosis.
What Else Should You Look for in an Apple?
Because much of the antioxidant content of an apple is found in its peel, you'll want to leave the peel on when you eat it. For this reason, look for organic apples, which will be free from pesticides and other chemicals. Apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits there is,14 so if you're planning to eat more apples, make them organic. If you purchase conventional apples, briefly soaking them in a solution of 10 percent vinegar to 90 percent water may help to remove some pesticides (and bacteria).
But keep in mind that many pesticides are lipophilic, and are therefore capable of entering through the surface of conventional produce deep into the flesh of the fruit or vegetable within minutes. If you have your own apple trees, you can integrate high-performance agriculture techniques that will radically increase the nutrient content and also virtually eliminate any diseases that the apples might be acquire.
- Choosing an apple with shiny, not dull, skin (dull apples will not be crisp)
- Firm apples free from bruises and punctures
- Refrigerating apples at 39 degrees F to maintain crispness
- Protecting cut apples from browning by dipping them into a solution of one part citrus juice to three parts water