As the famous saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But have you ever wondered how it does this?
According to studies, there are many ways through which apples can improve a person’s quality of life and all of these are possible due to the fruit’s high nutrient content.
Apples contain significant amounts of vitamins C, A, E, B, and K, as well as fiber, copper, manganese, and potassium. Additionally, they are rich in phytonutrients such as polyphenols that can be attributed for the majority of the health benefits of apples. Some examples of these health benefits include the following:
- Reducing cholesterol levels — A study from Florida State University showed that older women who regularly consumed apples exhibited a 23 percent reduction in bad cholesterol and a 4 percent increase in good cholesterol. This effect can be attributed to the ability of soluble fiber in apples to bind fats in the intestine.
- Improving heart health — Researchers from the University of Oxford found that apples are just as effective as statins (drugs that lower cholesterol levels) in preventing vascular death in people over the age of 50. This is possible with the help of phenolic compounds in apple skin that prevent cholesterol from accumulating on the walls of blood vessels.
- Reducing the risk of stroke — Stroke is another health concern associated with high amounts of cholesterol in the body. One study involving more than 9,000 participants revealed that people who ate the most apples in a span of 28 years exhibited the lowest risk of suffering a stroke.
- Preventing cancer — Many studies have looked at the relationship between cancer risk and apple consumption. The majority of them have arrived at the conclusion that eating apples help prevent cancer. This is because they contain flavonols and triterpenoids that prevent the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. (Related: Food nutrients in apples and grapes found to halt the systemic inflammation that causes cancer.)
- Protecting against dementia — Quercetin is a potent antioxidant abundantly found in apples. In a study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, this compound was shown to protect brain cells from oxidative damage and inflammation. This consequently improves neurological health and reduces the risk of dementia. Moreover, other studies have shown that drinking apple juice prevents Alzheimer’s by enhancing the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that’s important for memory.
- Lowering diabetes risk — Previous studies have associated apples with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, which they attributed to the fruit’s polyphenol content. These phytochemicals have potent antioxidant properties that protect beta cells in the pancreas from tissue damage that can interfere with their ability to produce insulin.
- Improving gut bacteria — A study in the journal Food Chemistry revealed that among the different types of apples, Granny Smiths are the best for maintaining gut bacteria. This health benefit of apples can be attributed to fibers such as pectin that can act as prebiotics and encourage the growth of good bacteria.
Different ways to enjoy apples
There are many different ways to enjoy apples so that you won’t get tired of their taste. Instead of just eating a whole apple, why not try out the following:
- Make apple butter — Spread apple butter over cornbread for a delicious and nutritious snack.
- Dip apple wedges in honey or almond butter — Feeling tired? Make a snack out of some apple wedges and honey or almond butter for an instant energy boost.
- Toss some apple slices into your salad — A few apple slices in your salad can add some crunch and sweetness to leafy salads.
- Bake an apple pie — Making this American classic will take a bit more of your time, but getting to enjoy a healthy and delicious apple pie that’s fresh from the oven is well worth the effort.
Read more news articles on the health benefits of apples by visiting Superfoods.news.