Can An Apple A Day Really Keep The Doctor Away?

With ample research now focusing on the health benefits of food, frequent introductions of the newest superfood on grocers’ shelves aren’t surprising. Each new superfood seems more exotic than the last, but can’t boring, mundane foods perform the same marvels? Perhaps apples are taken for granted and ignored because they’re plentiful and available everywhere, but the Victorian practice of munching on an apple a day as an antidote to doctors proves more than just an antiquated adage.

Two separate research efforts, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K., found that daily consumption of one to two apples or 12 fluid ounces of 100 percent apple juice, not apple cocktail blends, benefits the body by greatly reducing the risk of serious diseases. The clinical studies’ results certainly indicate apples qualify as a superfood.

Superfoods contain components that keep bodies healthy and prevent disease, and nature infused apples with a triple-threat of disease fighters.

Pectin: Better known as the stuff that makes jams and jellies gel, pectin is also a soluble dietary fiber that helps moderate blood glucose levels and lowers cholesterol.

Phytonutrients: Plant compounds, called phytonutrients or phytochemicals, act as antioxidants. Different compounds fight different free radicals in the body; the phytonutrients in apples just happen to fight LDL, the bad cholesterol.

Quercetin: Flavonoids are plant pigments that give fruit color and one of the antioxidant phytonutrients of plants. As a flavonoid, quercetin has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties that fight numerous diseases.

Apples’ pectin, phytonutrients and quercetin work together in warding off particular health issues.

High Cholesterol: In the studies mentioned above, cholesterol broke down, or oxidized, 20 percent faster in subjects who consumed apples daily than in subjects who didn’t. Researchers estimate that if all adults over that age of 50 took this apple prescription, 8,500 lives could be saved each year.

Strokes: In a separate Finnish study conducted over 28 years, people who regularly consumed apples had a reduced stroke risk

Lungs: Quercetin not only improves lung function, it also reduces the risk of lung cancer by 46 percent. The antihistamine property of quercetin helps reduce symptoms and discomfort associated with allergies and asthma.

Apples perform wonders on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, but like any superfood, they can’t go it alone; apples need teamwork to ensure the improved health of the entire body. This taken-for-granted fruit, though, is a strong player, easily available throughout the entire year and doesn’t require a mega-dose to keep a body healthy. If you’ll pardon the horrid grammar, the question begs to be asked: So, how do you like them apples?