The Health Benefits of Apples

No doubt you already know many of the health benefits of apples.

But, did you know that eating apples can actually help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, asthma and type 2 diabetes?

How is that possible? What makes apples so special? Once you've read this information you might realise that the old saying about 'one apple a day...' may actually be true.

Apple Nutrition Facts

A 100 g. serving of apple is one small apple and provides:

  • 52 calories
  • 0.3 g. of proteins
  • 0.2 g. of fat
  • 12.8 g. of carbohydrate, with 10.4 g. of natural sugars
  • 2.4 g. of fiber

Apples are also an excellent source of vitamin C, pectin and other fibers and a good source of potassium.

Most of the apple's important nutrients are contained in its skin and raw apples are higher in many nutrients and phytochemical as well, such as ellagic acid and flavonoids (especially quercitin). So to enjoy the health benefits of apples you should eat them raw and with their skin on.

Filled with Antioxidants

apple health benefits

The antioxidants in apples are mainly a type of phytochemicals called phenolics, which neutralize free radicals before they have a chance to harm your DNA and other important components within your body.

You might think that the health benefits of apples are mainly due to their high vitamin C content which provides the main antioxidant protection.

Apparently not. According to research conducted by scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Seoul University in South Korea, phenolics, rather than vitamin C in the fruit, may provide the bulk of apples' antioxidant power.

Apples came second after cranberries and before red grape, strawberry, pineapple, banana, peach, lemon, orange, pear and grapefruits (although these fruits are all rich with other very important phytochemicals).

One particular study also measured the ability of extracts of these fruits to inhibit liver-cancer cells in the lab. Apples came in third place, behind cranberries and lemons.

Problem is, you can't just grab a handful of cranberries or a lemon and eat them, can you? But nothing can beat the tastiness, easy preparation and versatility of an apple!

Health Benefits of Apples
on Heart Disease

one apple a day ...

The health benefits of apples extend also to your heart.

In fact, a study that followed almost 40,000 women over 7 years, associated apples with a 13 to 22% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

A study carried out in Finland, found that intake of flavonoids, a type of phenolic found in apples, as well as onions and tea, was inversely associated with death of heart disease in women.

Data gathered from the same group of people also found that those who ate the most apples had a lower risk of a type of stroke than people who ate the fewest apples.

Another study, involving more than 30,000 older Iowa women, found that consuming catechin and epicatechin - both flavonoids found in apples - was associated with a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease.

Unfortunately, most people favor the flesh, but much of the apple's healing power resides in the skin, which contains large amounts of an antioxidant compound called quercitin (about 4 milligrams). Like vitamin C and beta-carotene, quercitin can help prevent harmful oxygen molecules from damaging individual cells.

Even in the healing world of antioxidants, quercitin is thought to be exceptional.

Another Finnish study found that the people who ate the most quercitin had a 20% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease than those who ate the least.

Another study was conducted by Dr. R. Sablé-Amplis at the University of Paul Sabatier, Institute of Physiology, in Toulose, France specifically to discover the health benefits of apples.

He asked a group of thirty middle-aged healthy men and women not to change their diet one bit - except for one thing: Eat two or three apples every day for one month, one at about 10 A.M., another at 4 P.M.

By the end of the month, the apples had pushed down the blood cholesterol of twenty-four - or 80% - of the group. In half of them the drop was more than 10%. One person's cholesterol dived by 30%. Plus, the apples manipulated the blood so that good HDL cholesterol went up and the destructive LDL cholesterol went down.

They suspect that pectin, the soluble-type fiber contained in apples, is what caused the reduction, but they can't be sure. Pectin alone doesn't explain the health benefits of apples, for the whole apple itself is a much more powerful cholesterol depressor than all the pectin squeezed out of an apple.

Other Benefits of Pectin

Another benefit of the pectin in apples is that it slows down absorption of food after meals, so it's very good for people with diabetes.

It also removes unwanted metals and toxins, reduces the side effects of radiation therapy and reduces the risk of gallstones.

Apart from apples, pectin is also found in bananas, beets, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, dried peas and okra.

The next page will discuss the health benefits of apples for asthma, cancer, blood sugar, weight loss and to help fight viruses.



To read about other Healing Foods for Heart Disease click on the link.

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