The apple belongs to the Rosaceae family like its cousins the plum, nectarine and peach. The apple is a sweet crunchy fruit with an edible skin and a creamy or white flesh that has been touted the world over for its health promoting and disease prevention benefits. The reality is that the medicinal properties of apples are well documented. As the old adage says “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Here are just a few reasons why:
Apples Are Low in Calories A medium sized apple contains about 80-100 calories.
Apples Contain Vitamin C and Beta Carotene
The apple contains both Vitamin C and Beta Carotene antioxidants that help the body develop resistance against infections as well as aiding in the removal of harmful, free radicals that cause inflammation inside the body.
Apples Are A Good source of B Vitamins
Apples are a great source of B complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). These vitamins are considered “helper molecules” that assist in biochemical transformations inside the body.
Apples Boost Your Immune System
Apples contain several antioxidants which help the body protect itself from the effects of free radicals.Antioxidants are compounds that help fight disease and scientists believe that they also help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens inside of our bodies due to normal daily cell activity. Apples are rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrients flavonoids and polyphenolics. Some of the important flavonoids in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2 which help boost and fortify the immune system.
Apples Are High in soluble fiber
The apple is rich in dietary fiber, which helps prevent absorption of bad cholesterol in the gut.
Apples Help Regulate Cholesterol
The soluble fiber found in apples binds with fats in the intestines and brings your overall cholesterol to lower levels.
Apples Help Detoxify Your Liver & Colon
Your liver is responsible for clearing the toxins out of your body which can easily get inside by consuming them in the form of food or drinks. If the liver fails to function properly, many health problems will begin to occur. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit like apples is the simplest thing you can do to help detoxify your liver. The fiber is also beneficial because it saves the colon mucous membrane from exposure to these toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals inside the colon.
Apples Help Decrease The Risk of Diabetes
Apples are loaded with soluble fiber which dulls blood sugar swings. Also, research shows that certain flavonoids present in apples could be the reason they have a beneficial effect. One study noted in the Feb 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that people who ate 5 or more apples a week had a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who did not.
Apples Help Prevent Colon Cancer
The high amounts of fiber and pectin in the apple helps eliminate toxins and protects the lining of the colon so that cancer cells are unable to form.
Apples Aid In Healthier hearts
When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart which can lead to coronary artery disease. High soluble fiber intake slows the buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The cholesterol that gets into your system is prevented from solidifying on your artery walls by the phenolic compound found in apple skins.
Apples Help Prevent Alzheimers
Eating just a few apples a day will prevent the destruction of brain cells which leads to Alzheimers. Noticeable improvements in the memory of Alzheimers patients were made after consuming apples and/or apple juice for a few weeks. Consuming apples may reduce your chances of developing Alzheimers by 75% as noted in a study done by Dr Shea, a neurobiologist at the University of Massachusetts.
Apples Help Prevent Gallstones
The gallbladder is a storage place for bile which is a liquid produced in the liver. The normal function of bile is to help your body digest fats. Gallstones form when liquid bile hardens and becomes hard pieces of stone type material that can block the common bile duct causing symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, or a gallbladder attack. Gallstones have also been known to form when there is too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid causing it to solidify. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fiber to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.
Apples Help Remove Stains From teeth
Miraculously, the enzymes present in apples react to the stains on the surface of the teeth. Eating the skin as well as the flesh causes a rubbing effect which removes the stains from the teeth. This natural teeth whitening solution will not strip the enamel of the teeth, keeping them healthy and white!
How to add apples to your diet
There are many creative ways to easily add apples to your diet. Some common methods include eating them whole at breakfast or as a snack in between meals. Apples also make a great addition to any smoothie providing much of the bulk/fiber needed to hold it together. You can also chop apples and top a fresh salad, or cook them in pies, muffins, breads and cakes. Another tasty treat is to slice the apple and dip the slices in peanut butter. Personally, I find apples and peanut butter to be a perfectly nutritious treat that will satisfy any sweet tooth!