Can an apple a day can realistically keep the doctor away?
No, but consuming apples as part of your daily diet could reduce the number of visits to your doctor.
In fact, most nutritionists and your doctor will tell you that an apple is perhaps the healthiest snack to carry whilst travelling. It is also one of the best fruits to break your fast (breakfast) with every morning. Apples are packed with vitamins and minerals and most importantly antioxidants which fight free radicals.
Free radicals are reactive molecules that can build up as a result of natural processes and environmental pressures. If too many free radicals accumulate in the body, they can cause oxidative stress, and this can lead to cell damage. This damage can contribute to a range of conditions, including cancer and diabetes.
Here are some benefits to your systems when you include apples in your diet:
– Maintain Stable Blood pressure
Says a Harvard Health report- “There is good data to show that the soluble fiber in apples can help prevent cholesterol from building up on artery walls. Apples contain a good amount of potassium, which can be beneficial for those who are watching their blood pressure”.
Apples contain a range of antioxidants, including:
- chlorogenic acid
Studies conclude that quercetin has a neuroprotective effect, possibly because it prevents the creation of reactive species. It appears to help neurons survive and continue to function. It may therefore help prevent age-related neuron loss. High doses of quercetin supplements may help protect cells from the type of damage that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
“It is worth noting that most studies of this type used high doses of quercetin that are unlikely to be present in normal dietary sources. In addition, scientists need to do more studies in humans before they can confirm that quercetin improves neurological health in people”- says an article in Medical News Today.
– Lower you risk of a stroke
Apples contain many nutrients that may lower the risk of stroke.
People who consume the most fiber appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, and stroke. Apples contain a large amount of nutrients which may lower the risk of a stroke. A medium sized apple around 3 inches in diameter and weighing 182 grams (g) provides 4.37 of fiber. That is around 15-20% of an adult’s daily requirement, depending on their age and sex.
– Keeps Cholesterol in Check
We all know that we need to keep in check our LDL or Low- density Cholesterol. Eating apples helps you do just that. Again, this is attributed to the high -fibre that the fruit offers.
– A Healthy Heart
Again, it’s the fibre content along with other nutrients that help manage blood pressure and lower you risk of cardiovascular disease. Potassium in apples relax the blood vessels, reducing the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular complications. Vitamin C contained in apples contribute to building a stronger immune system, lees infections and diseases and improved heart function
– Down with Diabetes
In 2013, a study in the U.S found that people who replaced three servings per week of fruit juice with the same amount of whole fruit, including apples, had a 7% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat fruit.
Also, those who consume the most fiber have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People who already have diabetes and follow a high fiber diet may also have lower blood sugar levels.
In fact, most diabetics are advised to eat an apple to satisfy their sweet cravings plus add up nutrients. There is some caution regarding the high carbohydrate that apples contain.
– Prevent Cancer
Apples are a good source of antioxidants.
Consuming antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent the oxidative stress that causes cell damage and may lead to the development of certain cancers. Apples may help lower the risk of cancers of the lung, breast, and colorectal cancer among other types. Fiber may also help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
– Control Obesity
The bioactive compounds prevalent in apples promote healthy gut bacteria. This means the digestive system loves apples and they could help prevent and control obesity. Fiber can also help a person feel full for longer, making them less likely to overeat.
Apples contain fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and potassium.
A medium sized apple provides the following:
13–20% of a person’s daily fiber needs
9–11% of a person’s daily vitamin C needs
4% of a person’s daily potassium needs
Some Final Notes:
Do eat apples with the peel as the skin is rich with nutrients, the peels of apples contain beneficial nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Peeling apples will lower the fiber and overall nutrient content of the fruit.
In fact, research has shown that although both the flesh and the peel are highly nutritious, the peel contains certain flavonoid antioxidants that the flesh does not.
Additionally, one study demonstrated that the antioxidant activity and cancer-fighting properties were significantly higher in apple peel than in the flesh, regardless of the type of apple.
There are a variety of apples to choose from. Try each type. Experiment with apples in your diet.
Add them to salads, use apple sauce to sweeten dishes instead of sugar. Use them in chutneys, dry them, fry them add them to smoothies and juices.
But be aware eating an apple is far more nutritious, due to the benefits of the rich fibre it contains, than drinking it’s juice. Though if there is one juice you could drink daily — ABC (Apple+ Carrots + Beetroot) — it is great for health provided your doctor approves!
Apples may not keep the doctor totally away, but they are one of you best bets towards healthy functioning of your systems.
It makes sense why many health and diet ads have a person holding or eating an apple!