By Katie Buttons
Many of us are familiar with the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And while it was 1866 when the Welsh first coined this phrase, there is wisdom in the old adage as contemporary science reveals the life saving and weight reducing properties of apples.
Apples, it turns out, are packed with a myriad of health benefits. Consider some highlights for this everyday fruit: prevents cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, asthma, and diabetes; lowers cholesterol; delays aging and promotes weight loss.
Researchers at Cornell University have done a series of studies on the benefits of eating fresh apples.
Their results indicate, “natural antioxidants from fresh fruit could be more effective than a dietary supplement.” Further revealing that eating “100g of fresh apples has an antioxidant activity equivalent to 1,500 mg of vitamin C”. An average apple is 70-100 grams. However, don’t neglect eating the skin, up to 80% of nutrients is located in the skin of the apple.
Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant activity in the body, boosting immune function and protecting cells from “free radicals” (cells damaged by ie. air pollution, ultraviolent light, cigarette smoke). In most industrialized countries, cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of death.
According to Dr. Rui Hai Liu, Professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, a regular consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is related to “reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts” as well as slowing the process of aging. Further medical research by Boyer and Liu, has linked apples to reducing the risk of asthma, diabetes and lowering cholesterol.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) not only states the benefits of apples in the prevention of cancer but also elaborates on how high fiber content assists in weight control. Eating a high fiber diet can increase the feeling of fullness sooner, reducing the quantity of food consumed. Increased body fat (BMI) beyond the recommended range increases the risk of a least seven different cancers among other health risks.
A study in Brazil reveals that women who ate an apple (or pear) before meals were able to lose 28% more weight then those who did not take the fruit.
As a New Year resolution, I’ve started eating an apple each morning before I make breakfast and have enjoyed the benefits of increased digestion and regularity. According to the AICR, the science behind these positive daily results is that apples have a high level of pectin, which the gut is able to use to “produce compounds that protect colon cells”. Whatever the reason, “an apple a day” is feeling great.
Prevention is better then cure when it comes to battling chronic disease. An apple to your good health!
Other scientists have hailed the benefits of an orange a day, over apples. Let’s see what the research says… next time. For now, revise those New Year resolutions and start eating an apple a day, for your future.