Apples are one of the most common and popular fruits in people’s diets today. This juicy piece of fruit can be made into many delicious snacks. Deserts such as candied apples, apple pie, or a cut up apple with cinnamon sprinkled on it. No matter how you eat them, apples are just plain delicious. Most everyone has heard the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Is this just an old proverb parents tell their children to get them to eat apples, or can it really prevent frequent doctor visits? There are quite a lot of health benefits of eating an apple a day.
Fiber and Pectin
One medium sized apple contains only 80 calories and provides five grams of fiber. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract. Consuming enough fiber allows food to travel more easily through the digestive system. Pectin, a type of soluble fiber, is present in the skin of the apple. Pectin helps prevent cancer by blocking the development of a certain type of protein that is found in all stages of cancer. Pectin has also been linked with being able to lower cholesterol levels. This link was discovered back in the 1960s when tests were conducted by European scientists. The study concluded that people with high levels of cholesterol benefited greatly by eating several apples during the allotted time. Apples not only lowers total cholesterol, but they raise the good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL). The results suggest that people who eat two apples every day can lower their cholesterol by 16%.
Apples have large amounts of polyphenols and flavonoids, which are types of antioxidants. Antioxidants helps to stave off the effects of premature aging. Various oxidants, or free radicals, can penetrate our bodies and cause aging signs to show up earlier than normal. These oxidants can be due to stress, sun exposure, pollution, smoking, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy foods. Cells that have already been damaged by free radicals can be repaired with antioxidants.
The flavanoids found in apples also provide bone protection. A certain type of flavanoid, called phloridzin, was discovered by French researchers, that is only present in the apple. Phloridzin may help to protect women who are in post menopause from developing osteoporosis. It may help to increase the density of the bones as well, along with another component called boron.
Helps with Asthma
There’s a link between eating apples and asthma too. A study was conducted where children who had asthma drank apple juice every day. As a result, the children had less wheezing than other children that drank apple juice just one time every month. In another study, women who ate a lot of apples during the time they were pregnant, gave birth to children with a lower risks of getting asthma.
Eating apples regularly could help to prevent cancers such as lung cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Various studies have shown a lower percentage of these cancers in people who ate apples regularly and those that didn’t. The study on lung cancer for example, showed those people who ate a lot of apples split their chances of getting lung cancer in half. This is believed to be due to an abundant amounts of naringin and quercetin flavanoids, found in apples. This study was comprised of 10,000 people.
I would say that the old proverb “An apple a day can keep the doctor away” is true. With all of the health benefits of eating an apple a day, it’s no wonder that this saying has been passed down from generation to generation. Apples are very easy to come by, and are cheap. It should be no problem at all to stock up on these juicy fruits and start taking advantage of the benefits they provide.