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The original proverb about eating an apple a day, which came about in 1866, was: “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
Why are apples so great?
According to many studies, apples are included in the list of essential fruits for normal growth and overall well-being.
Apples are low in calories – 100 grams of fresh fruit provides only 50 calories.They contain no cholesterol or saturated fats.
Apples are rich in soluble fiber – this component reduces intestinal disorders and controls insulin levels by releasing sugar slowly into the bloodstream. Soluble fiber also cleanses and eliminates heavy metals from the body (such as mercury and lead).
Apples are packed with vitamin A and C.
In Chinese medicine, apples are used to increase body fluids, strengthen the heart, quench thirst, and lubricate the lungs.
Researchers have shown that eating apples help lower the risk of respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
Apples are rich in antioxidant Phyto-nutrients that help protect the body from free radicals. Phyto-nutrients also help prevent spikes in blood sugar.
Apples are a great source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. These vitamins help with various synthetic functions inside the body.
Apples have smaller amounts of potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
Apples are important part of a healthy diet; they can help with weight loss.
Apples can reduce skin diseases.
Apple cider vinegar help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Apples for Teeth
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The best way to stimulate the production of saliva is by biting and chewing an apple. Apples are also responsible for lowering the levels of bacteria in the mouth, thus very helpful in reducing tooth decay.
Although an apple will not replace the toothbrush, eating an apple a day can help maintain dental health and getting whiter and healthier teeth.
Apples for Blood Sugar Regulation
Due to the polyphenols, that can absorb carbohydrates and influence on our digestion. Apples can improve regulation of the blood sugar. Moreover, polyphenols lower the rate of glucose absorption from our digestive tract; stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin, and increase the flow of sugar out of our bloodstream into our cells.
Apples for Detoxification
Although we are very careful when it comes to the food we eat, we do constantly consume toxins (from drinks or food). Recently many people opt for fad detox diets to protect the liver and to decrease the toxin intake. However, many doctors show concerns and skepticism regarding these detoxification diets and suggest a regular intake of raw vegetables and fruits.
Apples are one of the greatest foods that can help protect the liver and help the detoxification process.
Apples for Cholesterol
The soluble fiber in apples binds with fats in the intestine and lowers cholesterol levels. A study showed that older adults ages 40 to 60 ate an apple a day for four weeks and lowered levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) by 40 percent. On the other hand, researchers showed that consumption of supplement capsules that contain polyphenols had a similar effect, but not as great as apples.
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Apples for Diabetes
Diabetics must follow a healthy eating plan all the time to keep blood glucose level stable, so the foods high in sugar are avoided. However, the sugar found in fruits is perfectly healthy for diabetics.
Researchers have shown that those who eat at least an apple a day (especially female population) are 25 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Why is that? Due to the soluble fiber pectin, apples are good at controlling blood sugar. The fiber is also good because it may help people with diabetes recover faster from infections. To get the maximum benefit of apples, one should eat it with the peel on.
Apples for Heart
The importance of soluble fiber stems from its ability to slow down buildups of plaque in arteries. The apple’s skin also prevents cholesterol from getting into the system and from solidifying on artery walls. Plaque buildups are highly dangerous because they can reduce blood flow to the heart that can lead to coronary artery disease.
Drinking apple juice and eating apples can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Apples for Constipation and Diarrhea
Due to the pectin, raw apples are good for constipation – two apples a day are great for proper evacuation of bowels. On the other hand, the same compound, pectin, helps bulk up the stool to treat both diarrhea and constipation.
To treat diarrhea, one can also cook or bake apples because the cooking process softens the cellulose and provides bulk to the feces. The fiber in apples also absorbs excess water from the stool and slows the bowels down.
Apples can also be of great help in neutralizing irritable bowel syndrome (constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating). Doctors suggest consuming fiber and including it on a diet, and apples are an excellent source of fiber.
Apples for Cancers
Researchers showed that consumption of flavonol-rich food and apples are one of those foods, can reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 percent. Several compounds in apples help reduce the risk of various cancers – triterpenoids (in apple peel) can help reduce the risk of liver, colon and breast cancer, while fiber can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
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Apples for Immune System
Due to the compound called quercetin, which is an antioxidant, apples help boost the immune system. On the other hand, apples are rich in essential vitamins, and have a small but precious amount of minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Together with B-complex vitamins, apples are immunity booster fruits.
Apples for Weight Control
To keep and improve your overall health, and to maintain your weight, doctors recommend food rich in fiber. Fiber is able to protect you from heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, fiber is essential in diets due to its ability to provide necessary energy. For weight loss, apples are eaten before each meal or as snacks between meals.
We all know the old proverb an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so, we should make it a habit and eat apples every day.
Harper, S., (2013). Apple Cider Vinegar Handbook: Nature’s Remedy for Weight Loss, Allergies, Healthy Skin and Overall Health – Benefits, Uses, Recipes & More.
Manhart, W., (1995). Apples for the Twenty-First Century. North American Tree.
Mikolajski, A., (2012). The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of apples: A comprehensive identification guide to over 400 varieties accompanied by 60 scrumptious recipes. Lorenz Books.
Image credit: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo
Last article update: 4/10/2019