In the February 1866 issue of the publication "Notes and Queries." The publication printed this: "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread."
Nearly 150 years later, variations of this adage are still quoted. It's unlikely that the saying would have maintained such popularity if there wasn't some truth to it, right?
Apples commonly enjoyed by many cultures, are an excellent source of antioxidants. Studies show that raw apples benefit your health by carrying rich amounts of flavonoid and polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. When compared to many other commonly consumed fruits in the United States, apples had the second highest level of antioxidant activity.
Apples also ranked the second for total concentration of phenolic compounds, type of antioxidants, and perhaps more importantly, apples had the highest portion of free phenolics when compared to other fruits. This means that these compounds are not bound to other compounds in the fruits, and the phenolics may be more available for eventual absorption into the bloodstream. Apples also contain a large amount of minerals and vitamins that can strengthen the blood. As well as pectin that can help remove toxic substances from the system.
STUDIES ON APPLES
Only some of the amazing studies done on apples.
-Research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell (Aug 2006) indicated that apples may actually increase the production of essential neurotransmitter in the brain, resulting in improved memory. The researchers foresee that apples' health benefits will be extended to treat Alzheimer's disease.
-Cornell University has conducted the first-ever study on the direct effects of apples on breast cancer prevention in animals. In this study, led by Dr. Rui Hai Liu, Cornell Associate Professor of Food Science, the more apples consumed, the greater reduction in the incidence and number of breast cancer tumors. They found that tumor incidence was reduced by 17,39, and 44 percent in rats fed the human equivalence of one, three or six apples a day, respectfully over 24 weeks.
-Researchers at the University of California, Davis Medical Center recently reported that adults who added apples and apple juice to their diet reduced an important marker for heart disease in only a few weeks. The UC-Davis study showed that daily consumption of two apples or 12 ounces of apple juice reduced oxidation of the "bad" low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in healthy men and women. The UC-Davis researchers note that their findings in this clinical study are similar to previously-published studies on tea and red wine that reported a similar reduction of oxidation.
-A recent medical study of nearly 10,000 men and women in Finland over 26 years showed that those with highest consumption of apples were less than half as likely to develop lung cancer as those who ate few or no apples. The study, published in Fall, 1997 American Journal of Epidemiology focused on flavonoids, a plant compound known to have antioxidant effects. Apples are very rich in a flavonoid called quercetin, especially in comparison to other fruits.
-Polyphenols extracted from apples could increase muscle power and reduce fat in and around organs in the human body, according to the results of joint research conducted by Asahi Breweries, Ltd. and Nippon Sport Science University graduate school. Asahi Breweries researchers and Hiroyuki Nakajima, professor of the NSSU graduate school, fed rats with food that contained 5 percent apple polyphenols, and compared them after three weeks with rats that were fed ordinary food. The results showed that rats fed with food containing apple polyphenols gained 16 percent more muscle strength and lost 27 percent of organ fat when compared with those that ate ordinary food.
-A new study of more than 34,000 women. In this study, flavonoid-rich apples were found to be one of three foods (along with red wine and pears) that decrease the risk of mortality for both coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among post-menopausal women, The findings were published in the March 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
APPLE'S COMPONENTS & THEIR EFFECT ON HEALTH
- Pectin -- Pectin is a form of soluble fiber than lowers both blood pressure and glucose levels. It can also lower the levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol in the body. Pectin, like other forms of fiber, helps maintain the health of the digestive system. Pectin also improves insulin resistance, relieves diarrhea, and acts as detoxicant, as immune system stimulant and as anti-ulcer and antinephrotic agent. Apples are an excellent source of pectin.
- Boron -- A nutrient found in abundance in apples, boron supports strong bones and a healthy brain. It also regulates hormones in both men and women and repairs joints
- Quercetin -- A flavonoid, this nutrient shows promise for reducing the risk of various cancers, including cancers in the lungs and breast. It may also reduce free radical damage. Free radicals develop when atoms in the body's cells have unpaired electrons, which can lead to damage to different parts of the cell, including DNA. Quercetin may neutralize free radical damage, which has been implicated in a variety of age-related health problems, including Alzheimer's disease.
- Vitamin C -- Vitamin C boosts immunity, which helps maintain overall health. It also boosts collagen in the skin. Many skincare lines are putting apples in their product for the anti-aging benefits.
- Phytonutrients -- Apples are rich in a variety of phytonutrients, including vitamins A and E and beta carotene. These compounds fight damage from free radicals and can have a profound affect on health, including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
- Flavonoids-- Apples
are abundant in flavonoids which soak up free radicals that lead to
disease. New research has found that flavonoids also have the ability to
inhibit cell damage which leads to atherosclerosis.
When you're choosing apples, make sure they are firm to the touch and free from brown bruises. Handle them gently to prevent bruising.
Large apples are more likely to over-ripe which are best for stewing and baking. As for storage, you should store them in a cool environment (especially refrigerator) where oxygen balance has been chemically lowered. This halts the natural maturing processes, so they can be kept for several months without going soft. When the fruit is again exposed to normal temperature and oxygen level it continues to mature and may quickly go soft.
Another thing to take note is, you can put apples together with other fruits (like apricots) in a paper bag for two to four days to help them ripe faster. But on the other hand, avoid storing apples with strong-smelling foods to prevent them from absorbing unpleasant odors.
To prevent cut or sliced apples from browning, drop them in a bowl mixed of one part lemon juice to three parts water.
SHOULD YOU PEEL AN APPLE?
NO, as two-thirds of the fiber, and many of the antioxidants, are found in an apple's peel. However, some raise concerns about the amount of pesticides on the peel. so it's best to BUY ORGANIC. Apples are one of the "Dirty Dozen" list of foods with the most pesticide residue.
IS APPLE JUICE JUST AS BENEFICIAL?
If possible, eat apples on their own as any processing will result in some loss of the polyphenols, fiber and many other nutrients. Ideally, fruit should be eaten raw. However on the other hand, it doesn't hurt to make some mouthwatering apple pies to satisfy your craving. Just don't eat too much per day and you'll be just fine.
Apple juice is high in sugar and raises the blood sugar, but if you really want to drink apple juice, opt for the cloudy rather than clear apple juice to get more polyphenols and pectins. Or juice it yourself. This way you'll reap as much health benefits from apples as possible.
SPECIFIC HEALTH BENEFITS
STRONGER BONES Apples contain a flavanoid called phlorizin, which is known to prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women. Apples also contain boron, which is known to increase bone density, thus making bone stronger.
WEIGHT LOSS Apples are ideal fruits to consume when on a diet as they not only facilitate weight loss, but also provide the necessary nutrition that the body needs. If you want to lose weight, you'll love the weight loss benefits of apples because they contain relatively low calorie count, fat and sodium levels but are brimming with soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals. That makes apple an ideal natural food to include as part of your weight loss regimen. Check out the 3 APPLE A DAY PLAN.
SKIN CARE Apples are great for the skin, they are known to delay the aging process. Thereby delaying the onset of wrinkles. Apples also help protect the skin from various skin diseases. Overall, apple helps soothe dry skin and give it a pleasant glow. Pastes of apple and honey, when applied on the skin increase it's shine and glow. Apples are also used in poultice for skin inflammation.
DIABETES The nutrition content in apples is known to help people with diabetes. Apples contain pectin which assists the body in fighting the need for insulin. It also prevents the protein in the intestines from getting spoiled.
HEART DISEASE Amongst the other health benefits of apples, they are known to reduce bad cholesterol, thereby protecting the body from numerous heart diseases. It is believed that two apples a day can reduce cholesterol by 15%. If you eat apples you will be protecting your heart.
ASTHMA Apples are known to benefit asthmatics greatly. They are known to reduce wheezing in asthmatics. Their high flavonoid and antioxidant content is known to make the immune system stronger, thereby reducing the frequency of asthmatic attacks and allergies.
ALZHEIMER'S Amongst the other benefits of apples, they are also known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Apples protect the brain from the damaging effect of the above mentioned diseases. The goodness of apples is also known to improve memory.
CANCER Of all the health benefits of apple, the most important advantage of eating apples is that the flavonoids and antioxidants in apples are known to have cancer fighting and preventing properties. Compounds like quercetin and phytonutrients are known to prevent prostate and lung cancer. Flavonoids in apples are known to benefit the digestive system, thereby preventing colon cancer, kidney stones and bladder cancer. Apples are rich in anticarcinogenic properties. Apples are also known to prevent breast cancer.
EYE DISORDERS Apples are believed to make the eyes strong and improve eye-sight. They also help in treating night blindness.
DENTAL CARE Eating apples helps in cleaning teeth and gums. It reduces the incidence of cavities in teeth. When you eat apples, the fiber in it cleanses the teeth, while the antiviral properties of the fruit keep bacteria and viruses away. Apples also act as a toothbrush, cleaning teeth and killing bacteria in the mouth, which may reduce the risk of tooth decay.
WEAKNESS Apples are known to remove weakness and add vigour and vitality to weak people. It is, therefore, often given to patients to help them recover fast from their illness. They also help in detoxifying the body and improving the overall health.
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM In herbal medicine, ripe, uncooked apples are traditionally used to treat constipation, while the stewed fruit can be eaten for diarrhea and gastroenteritis (aka gastric flu).
HAIR GROWTH Japanese researchers extracted a particular chemical compound from apples named procyanidin B-2 and studied its effect on hair epithelial cells in lab animals. Their conclusion, published in the January 2002 issue of British Journal of Dermatology, was that the compound promotes hair growth.
Did You Know?
-There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples grown in the world.
-The most popular variety in the United States is the Red Delicious.
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