How an apple a day keeps disease away
(NaturalHealth365) You’ve long heard the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Turns out, there’s a lot of truth to what your grandma was saying when she offered you an apple instead of junk food. And, while apples are one of the most widely-consumed fruits in America, they’re often underrated nutritionally.
We know that lowering the risk of chronic inflammation is crucial to combating disease, and while a diet high and fruits and vegetables helps accomplish this, there’s evidence to show that apples are especially helpful in reducing the risk of inflammation. One study that looked closer at the phytochemicals found in apples and the health benefits they offer dug deeper into why eating apples regularly can help combat disease.
Study shows apples are a rich source of phytochemicals
The study uncovered that apples are a rich source of phytochemicals. In fact, they’re one of the most widely-consumed source of phytochemicals and are a significant source of flavonoids within Americans’ diets.
Approximately 22% of phenolics consumed by people in the U.S. are from apples, making them the largest source of phenolics in the American diet. The good news – increased flavonoid intake has been associated with lower overall mortality, and apples were shown as one of the sources of these flavonoids that had a strong association with a decrease in mortality.
Apples also are packed with antioxidants, and when compared to other fruits commonly consumed by Americans, apples were second highest in their level of antioxidant activity next to cranberries.
They also ranked second in their total concentration of phenoloic compounds and even had the highest amount of free phenolics compared to other commonly consumed fruits. This means that the essential compounds aren’t bound with other compounds in the apples, making them more available for absorption by your body.
Science-backed health benefits of apples
With a high concentration of antioxidants and phytochemicals like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolics, apples play a key role in reducing the risk of chronic disease. Many studies back the health benefits of apples, including:
- Improved heart health: The soluble fiber in apples helps lower cholesterol. In fact, eating an apple a day has been found nearly as effective as statins at reducing death due to heart disease. The polyphenols in apples have been linked to a lower risk of stroke, as well.
- Reduced risk of diabetes: Multiple studies have linked eating more apples to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Cancer prevention: Certain studies have linked plant compounds found in apples to a lower risk of cancer. Scientists believe that the anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidants in apples are responsible for the potential cancer-prevention effects.
- Better bone health: Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds found in apples may have a positive effect on your bone health. In women, those who ate meals containing apple products lost less calcium than women who did not.
- Protect against mental decline: Newer studies show that apples may help protect against age-related mental declined, helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The evidence is in – an apple a day can keep disease away. Additionally, the soluble fiber found in this fruit can promote gut health and weight loss. Simply grab a medium sized apple and you’ll have ¾ of your daily recommendation for fruit, but make sure you eat the flesh and skin to enjoy the greatest health benefits.
Sources for this article include: