The Health Benefits of Apples

GUEST POST: David Novak is a health writer and health and fitness enthusiast.  When he is not writing for publications around the world, he enjoys playing competitive tennis and keeping his physical health in check. He is an expert on fitness, diet and age management.  David is a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/.  

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“An apple a day…..”  You know the saying, and it happens to be true. We all know that apples are a round shaped fruit that grow on small deciduous trees, and they come in many varieties: Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Granny Smith, among others. They also come in various colors including green, yellow and red, varying in flavor and sweetness. They are all good for your health but the Red Delicious, especially, stand out to be the healthiest.

Apple’s Nutritional Facts

Apples contain an abundance of fructose, flavonoids and fiber, which all combined can do some healthy stuff for your body, like prevent constipation, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, boost your immune system, reduce the risk of stroke, maintain blood sugar levels, prevent menopausal bone loss, boost memory, prevent heart disease, raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol, to name a few.

Additionally, apples can improve the appearance of skin, especially Fuji, Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples. Granny Smith and Red Delicious strengthen collagen and elastin in skin, and can help maintain a glowing and youthful appearance. The skin of Red Delicious and Fuji apples contain a high amount of antioxidant compounds called phenols. Phenols provide UV-B protection from the sun, strengthening the ability of skin to resist sun damage. In fact, the skin is the healthiest attribute of the apple, providing antioxidants and nutrient benefits.

Quercetin and Antioxidants

Apples contain Quercetin, which is thought to be the main reason why the saying “an apple a day” is associated with good health. Quercetin is mainly found in apples, black tea and onions, which helps to combat the destructive free radical molecules in many diseases, such as reducing heart attacks and cancer risk.  It can control asthma and diabetes and ward away eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Apples are also rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent many diseases. They also contain a mineral called boron, which can help to keep your bones strong and healthy, as well as 25% of the daily Vitamin C you need to strengthen your immune system and ward off colds and flu.

Lose Weight

Eating an apple a day can help dieters lose weight as well.  The sugar in apples are release slowly in the G.I. track, which can help to maintain a steady blood sugar level and control the hunger pains. If eaten before a meal, apples can help fill you up so you don’t eat so much.

Studies have shown that overweight women who ate apples lost more weight on a calorie controlled diet than those that ate no fruit at all. Additionally, those who ate apples ate fewer calories overall. Apples contain zero fat or cholesterol and have only 80 calories.

Apples are great to eat in their natural state, or try them steamed as a dessert…a much better substitute than the high-calorie, high-fat, high sugar desserts we’re accustom to.

Avoid Dirty Apples

It’s important to wash your apples.  Some of them are grown with the use of insecticides or protective waxes, containing unhealthy residues.  Wash and rinse your apples with soap and water. There are fruit wash sprays available as well.  Also, consider buying organic apples because they are void of any chemicals used to preserve them.

Eat them Anytime, Anywhere

Apples are great, and so convenient.  You can literally eat them anytime, anywhere, and they can be eaten in so many different ways.  Slice them, dice them, chop them, bake them, use them in desserts or eat them whole. You can eat them with cheese, add them in fruit salads or add a fun flavor to some apple wedges.

Apple juice is great for you as well, but make sure it’s 100% apple juice, and not from concentrate. Avoid “apple drinks” with a high sugar content. Instead, look for 100% natural apple juice or make your own. Also, consider buying organic apple juice. Pure apple juice also contains many antioxidants, just like apples themselves.

Reduces Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Finally, People who eat apples may be less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Studies have found that people who eat apples in any form are 25% less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome than those who don’t. Apple eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation whose presence in the blood suggests an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

 

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