The Many Benefits of the Humble Apple

When it comes to choosing a food that gives you more bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with apples.  They are inexpensive, easy to eat, easy to store, versatile, highly nutritious, and they offer more benefits to your health than you may have given them credit for.

Apples are a great source of pectin, a soluble fiber.  They’re also rich in the antioxidants quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid, and anthocyanin.  They’re high in vitamin C, as well as potassium and vitamin K.  It’s important to note that the best way to consume an apple is fresh and whole, because if you throw away the peel, you lose most of the fiber and antioxidants.

The many health benefits gained from eating apples include the following:

Cardiovascular health – the polyphenols (plant chemicals) in the apple, especially the peel, help protect against damage to the heart and blood vessels.  The soluble fiber pectin helps lower your cholesterol and triglycerides.

Lung health  – there is evidence that eating apples leads to a decreased risk of lung cancer and asthma, and that it also leads to a slower decline in the lung function in ex-smokers.  The antioxidant action helps prevent cancers of all types.

Weight control – the fiber and water in the apples helps you feel fuller longer to help you eat less.  Apples are also a low glycemic food which results in less of a spike in blood sugar, which also lessens hunger later on.

Type 2 diabetes – the antioxidants in apples help prevent damage to your pancreas, which is responsible for secreting insulin.  A large Women’s Health Study showed that women who ate one or more apples a day had a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Gut health – the pectin is fermented by the good bacteria in your colon, producing short chain fatty acids that help prevent colon and digestive tract cancers.  The fiber also helps keep you “regular”.

Brain health – the quercetin in apples helps prevent damage to your brain cells and helps protect against memory loss and Alzheimer’s.

While there are many other foods you can eat to benefit your health, make sure you try to include an apple a day…

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