Ten reasons to eat an apple a day – and it’s not just to keep the dentist away!
The ‘apple a day…’ adage is totally justified. Not only do apples have culinary versatility, they are easy and cheap to buy and highly nutritious, providing a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and a wide range of therapeutic and preventative health benefits.
Apples are most certainly detoxifying by nature. They provide a rich source of insoluble fibre, specifically called pectin, which acts like a natural sponge that absorbs and eliminates toxins.
Apples support elimination by virtue of keeping bowels healthy and regulated, which is a major route for removing metabolic-waste products from the body.
2. Promotes healthy weight loss
We all know that excess sugar of any kind leads to unhealthy weight gain. According to the Low Glycemic Load index (GL), apples have a low sugar content relative to their weight. Additionally, the polyphenols found in apples reduce the amount of sugar that is actually absorbed from food itself, making them perfect for weight loss plans, or just for general good health.
3. Regulates blood sugar and prevents diabetes
Spikes in blood sugar commonly causes energy fluctuations and complaints of fatigue, the long term prognosis of excess sugar is that it may increase the risk of developing diabetes.
However, the phenolic compound called Quercetin that is found in apples, helps to slow down the breakdown of sugars from complex carbohydrates. Therefore apples are great for helping to regulate blood sugar levels, promote insulin sensitivity and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Did you know? The British Medical Journal found that as little as three servings of apples a week may help to prevent Type 2 diabetes?
4. Cardio protective
The polyphenolic compound found in apples prevents plaque formation in blood vessels. They also produce Nitric Oxide or NO for short, a powerful chemical that helps to dilate and relax blood vessels, preventing arterial damage and therefore, lowering the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
5. Lowers cholesterol
The pectin found in apples is a great agent for absorbing cholesterol and transporting it out of the body in the form of waste. This can not only help to combat fat around the middle (the mid-range bulge we all hate so much!) but also promote healthier cholesterol levels.
In fact a study at Oxford University suggested that an apple a day could be as effective as statins.
6. Protects brain health and prevents neurological decline
Apples have been studied and shown to protect brain cells from degeneration, due to their high antioxidant levels. Some studies claim they may even help to prevent or slow down dementia or even Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Dental health
Refined sugar is known to feed the bacteria on our teeth, an excess of which can lead to gum disease and dental health issues. An apple a day may be a better option owing to its low sugar content. But as apples are quite acidic it is important not to take all day eating them.
Apples for good dental health very much depend on the way you eat acidic fruits and the frequency.
A tip for great dental health: Take a generous sip of water after eating an apple (or any acidic fruit) and swirl it around your mouth for thirty seconds, as this will help to flush the acid away.
8. Increases gut-friendly bacteria
Apples provide a natural source of prebiotics, a food source for the friendly bacteria that reside in the gut, to thrive.
They then go on to produce butyric acid – a chemical that nourishes the cells of the digestive tract. In fact friendly gut bacteria has many health implications, from boosting immunity, preventing obesity to influencing how we feel and what we think.
9. Acts as a digestive aid
Apples, whichever way you look at it, are a great way to finish or accompany your meals.
Because of the way they can change the pH environment, they act like natural antacids that neutralise heartburn caused by excess stomach acid. On the other hand, indigestion from low stomach acid can actually be improved by consuming a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar just before meals – which is in fact made from apples.
The antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds in apples also make them anti-cancerous as supported by numerous studies. In fact, the prominent Cornell researcher Rui Hai Liu claimed that an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer.
Want to know how to eat apples at their best?
Watch out for my Apples Cheat Sheet (coming shortly) on the many delicious ways to eat Apples without losing their health benefits!
For a list of medical references and studies referred to here, please connect with WatchFit Expert Shevonne Norman.