Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

It seems that the health benefits of the apple – the fruit that Eve used to tempt Adam in the biblical Genesis story of creation, is not to be ignored!

From promoting hair growth to keeping your skin from wrinkling to improving memory, protecting against cardiovascular disease and cancer, it seems this tasty fruit used in Mom’s apple pie is a fantastic addition to the daily diet.

First introduced into North America in the 1600’s as part of a healthy diet, apples just make sense. Scientific studies are confirming what our ancestors already knew – that for some reason those who ate apples (and other fruits) were healthier than those who did not.

Apples along with all fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and research clearly shows the benefits of these powerful substances to mop up free radicals that cause disease. Therefore, the advice from Health Boards to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables is so very sound. While apples are not the only foods that benefit health, evidence shows that it makes good sense to include at least one apple a day. (Some studies show the more apples eaten, the more health benefits.) However, while apples contain natural sugar, which is better for us than a candy bar, sugar is still sugar. High amounts can raise circulating blood sugar which promotes insulin production.

However, studies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging based at Tufts University in Boston, Mass., have linked the consumption of diets high in antioxidants with reduction in aging-related mental and physical degeneration. A Tampa study showed that apples “significantly down regulated” an age-related inflammatory response in the brain that is thought to contribute to deterioration in mental processes”.

In a Finnish study, researchers conducted another long-term study on the association of dietary consumption of flavonoids and subsequent heart attack mortality. The primary sources of flavonoids were apples and onions. The scientists concluded, according to their report in the February 24, 1996 issue of British Medical Journal, that “the results suggest that people with very low intakes of flavonoids have higher risks of coronary disease.” So eat apples for your heart’s sake. You also receive bone protection by eating apples due to these flavonoids called phloridzin and boron which strengthens bones.

While oranges contain over ten times the amount of vitamin C than does an apple, the mighty apple contains double the amount of fiber than does the sun-kissed orange. And foods with fiber make us feel full, which discourages overeating. We need vitamins and minerals and fiber. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble helps move food through the digestive system, promoting healthy bowel function and protecting against constipation.

A diet that includes foods that are rich in fiber can help lower blood cholesterol and prevent diabetes and heart disease.

So the time is right to stock your fridge with rich, dark apples and eat them each day to increase your health and vitality.