Can An Apple A Day Can Keep The Doctor Away? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on January 07, 2015

Really Now: An Apple A Day Can Keep The Doctor Away?

Apples are packed with all kinds of vitamins, minerals and natural chemicals that really can make you a healthier individual.The old Welsh proverb tells us that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but is this really true? Can simply eating a single apple each day make us healthier now and in the future?

Well, yes, they can certainly help. Whether you have a big or small apple, a red, yellow or green one, those apples are packed with all kinds of vitamins, minerals and natural chemicals that really can make you a healthier individual.

Apples, which nutritionists often refer to as “nutritional powerhouses,” contain vitamin C – a powerful and natural antioxidant that has the ability to block some of the damage caused by free radicals as well as boost your body’s resistance against infectious agents. They also contain B-complex vitamins that are crucial for maintaining red blood cells and for keeping your nervous system in good condition.

Apples are high in dietary fiber, phytonutrients and minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

All of that adds up to making apples one of the best foods people should be including in their diet every day. And studies and research are backing that up.

Research on apples has shown that the fruit can be good for your neurological health because they contain the antioxidant “quercetin.” Quercetin has shown to reduce cellular death caused by the oxidation and inflammation of neurons. One study found evidence that apples may prevent dementia. They may help protect neuro cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity. That sounds like something scary; what it means is that apples could reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Apples may also reduce your risk of stroke. One study showed that people who ate the most apples over a period of time had the lowest risk of stroke.

The fruit can potentially lower levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the bad kind of cholesterol. Apples are low in calories and high in the soluble fiber pectin, which helps lower LDL blood cholesterol levels. They can also potentially prevent high blood pressure and even heart disease (but you have to eat the skin of the apple for this health benefit).

Eating apples may also lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Since apples are packed with soluble fiber, they slow the digestion of food and the entry of glucose into your blood stream, which helps stabilize blood sugar. Researchers discovered that women who eat at least one apple per day were about 28 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those women who didn’t eat any apples.

There is also a growing amount of evidence that suggests eating an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer. Colon cancer, too – when apples’ natural fiber ferments in the colon, it produces chemicals that help fight the formation of cancer cells. Some studies have also shown that one kind of antioxidant in apples called procyanidins can trigger a series of cell signals that result in cancer cell death.

Your mouth can also benefit from eating apples – biting and chewing an apple stimulates your gums and its sweetness prompts an increased flow of saliva. All of that reduces tooth decay by lowering the level of bacteria in your mouth.

Eating apples may also help you lose weight. They’re packed with fiber and water, so after eating one, your stomach will want less food.

Apples contain most of their fiber and antioxidants are in the peel, so don’t short yourself any health benefits by peeling your next Granny Smith.

So, while an apple a day doesn’t mean that you never have to visit the doctor, it’s a pretty good start to a better, healthier you.

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