We’ve all heard that classic line, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but is there any truth in it? Research has found significant evidence to keep this saying alive. From asthma to diabetes, along with cancer prevention these round fruits might just make themselves staples in your kitchen. Apples are jam-packed full of nutrients that may be familiar, but not completely understood by most. Here are some important ones to understand.
Antioxidants Television and labels at the supermarket are making this term a household name. Antioxidants are chemicals that play the role of prohibiting oxidation, stopping damage to cells and tissues from free radicals inside the body. All fruits, vegetables and whole grains are wonderful sources full of antioxidants.
Flavonoids Probably not as common a term, flavonoids are defensive phytochemicals. There are a variety of flavonoids and each provides an important protective effect to overall health. Some protective effects include antiviral, antiallergic, antiinflammatory, antitumor and antioxidant activity benefits. The flavonoid naringin, which is found in apples, is thought to help prevent lung cancer. According to French research, another flavonoid, phloridzin which is only found in apples, may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis, plus increase bone density.
Quercetin Considered the foundation of the flavonoid family, quercetin provide many health benefits. Reducing the risk for cancer, preventing recurrent gout and heart attacks, warding off eye diseases, controlling asthma, maintaining health while suffering from Crohn’s disease, and speeding up healing of recurrent heart burn and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). Possibly, this very special part of the apple may be the reason apples are said to keep the doctor away.
Pectin Apples are the richest source of all to house this natural fiber. Pectin acts as an antioxidant combating bad cholesterol (LDL) within the blood stream. Other note-worthy benefits include decreasing risk of colon cancer, working well as an anti-diarrhea agent, reducing high blood pressure, and preventing/regressing gallstones. Pectin found in apples provides galacturonic acid. This acid enters the body and reduces its need for insulin, which may help in managing diabetes. Maintaining a healthy digestive tract is another bonus of this natural fiber.
Phytochemicals Holding an “external” health benefit, phytochemicals may help in slowing down the aging process. They are said to reduce the risks of several health issues including: cancer, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts, osteoporosis, and urinary tract infection.
Tannins Don’t forget to eat the peel, when consuming that tasty apple. Inside the apple’s coat tannins are found. They are substances that tan the hides, making apples rust when exposed to air. Dentists may encourage apples as part of a patient’s diet, as the tannins in their peels are thought to help prevent periodontal or gum disease.
When deciding what to eat or drink, think about the important health benefits of both apples and apple juice. One study found asthmatic children who drank apple juice daily were less likely to suffer from wheezing, as compared to children who drank it only once a month.
Understanding the inside of an apple just might make them more appealing on the outside. Maybe an apple a day does keep the doctor away after all!