An Apple a Day ... Is Darn Healthy
By Paul Rothbart
When it comes to fruit, it's hard to beat the apple. There are so many varieties and new hybrids are being created all the time. They can be sweet or tart, are great in baked goods, apple sauce, juice and cider, and excellent just on their own. Picking apples is a fun activity in the fall. The humble apple has even become the nickname of a great city. They may not actually prevent you from having to see a doctor, but apples have plenty of nutrition and some great health benefits. Here are some of the many ways that apples are good for us.
The recommended amount of fruit each day is two cups and a medium sized apple provides about 1.5. That apple will provide 95 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of carbs. It also contains a good amount of Vitamins C and K, as well as potassium. Vitamins A, B2, B6, and E are also present, but in smaller amounts. Apples also contain many of the polyphenols, healthy compounds that are primarily in the skin.
With their fiber content, apples can help lower cholesterol, which will improve heart health. The polyphenols have an antioxidant effect that can help prevent heart disease and stroke. One of the polyphenols is the flavonoid, epicatechin, which has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Lower Risk of Diabetes
A study showed people who ate an apple every day had a 28 percent less chance of getting type 2 diabetes. The polyphenols in apples may protect against damage to beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. People with type 2 diabetes often have damaged beta cells.
Apples are very filling due to their water and fiber content. A fuller stomach lessens between meal snacking and can also help us be satisfied with smaller portions at meals. A study showed that people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller than those who did not and ate an average of 200 fewer calories.
Good Gut Bacteria
Apples contain the fiber, pectin, which is a prebiotic. It feeds the good bacteria in your gut and promotes their growth and thus healthy digestion. Pectin can also help create compounds that are helpful to health. Research shows that promoting the growth of good bacteria may be tied to the way apples help prevent obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
No question about it, apples are one of the healthiest fruits there is. Eating one a day definitely goes a long way toward preventing numerous health issues. Choose your favorite varieties and snack away.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sacramento, Calif.