Apples Can Crunch Your Way to Healthy Nutrition
Apples are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They're
fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium. In short, eating apples is a
smart part of a healthy lifestyle.
There's no easier way to add a dose of nutrition to your day than by crunching
on a tasty apple. You probably first experienced its delightful flavor as a
baby, when applesauce introduced you to real food. And now, whether it's a
Granny Smith, a McIntosh, or a Red Delicious, you think of apples as old
friends. Grown throughout the world, apples are high in fiber, vitamins,
minerals, and antioxidants. They're fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in
sodium. In short, eating apples is a smart part of a healthy lifestyle.
6 ways apples keep you healthy
Regulates your day.
You don't have to worry about staying regular anymore. Whether your problem is
visiting the bathroom too often or not often enough, apples can help.
A British researcher, Dr. D.P Burkitt, believes one of the easiest ways to
prevent all sorts of illnesses, is to avoid constipation. He calls the diseases
caused by chronic constipation "pressure diseases." Appendicitis, diverticular
diseases, hemorrhoids, hiatal hernias, and even varicose veins can all be caused
by straining to pass small, hard stools.
Just one apple with its skin contains 4 to 5 grams of fiber - the most important
nutrient in keeping your bowels working like a well-oiled machine. Keeping
yourself regular without relying on harmful laxatives could be as easy as
replacing that afternoon snack of potato chips or cookies with a crisp,
delicious apple. And think of the calories you'll save. The average apple has
about 80 calories while a serving of chips weighs in at 150 calories and you'll
get about 200 from just a few cookies.
But that's not all apples can do. They're also good for diarrhea, thanks to an
ingredient called pectin. This carbohydrate has a congealing effect in your
intestines that helps firm things up and return you to normal. Applesauce is
actually the best apple product for diarrhea, since it's made without the
high.-fiber skin. But watch out for extra sugar. Some brands of applesauce dump
a truckload of sweeteners into an otherwise healthy food, and too much refined
sugar could make your diarrhea worse.
Keeps your body young.
By now you know antioxidants can protect you from many of the diseases that seem
to be a part of aging. In fact, so many people are taking supplements for
antioxidant protection that it's become a multibillion-dollar industry. But the
evidence is mounting that whole foods can do more for you than pills.
When scientists compared a 1,500-milligram vitamin C supplement to one small
apple, the results were astounding - the antioxidant values were equal. That
means a fresh apple has more than 15 times the antioxidant power of the
recommended daily dose of vitamin C. And that's just for starters. The
researchers also found an ordinary apple was able to stop the growth of colon
and liver cancer cells in test tubes. Unpeeled apples were especially effective.
The question you need to ask yourself: Why waste money on flavorless supplements
when you can get better antioxidant firepower from a sweet, crunchy fruit?
Cuts your risk of heart disease. Sometimes it's hard to remember which food is
good for which part of your body. The next time you pick up an apple, examine it
carefully. It's shaped a bit like a heart - and that should help you remember
apples are good for your heart.
It's the magnesium and potassium in apples that help regulate your blood
pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it's the flavonoid quercetin,
a naturally occurring antioxidant, that protects your artery walls from damage
and keeps your blood flowing smoothly.
In fact adding flavonoid-rich foods like apples to your diet has been
scientifically confirmed to lower your risk of heart disease. There's proof of
this in a study of Japanese women who ate foods high in quercetin. They were
less likely to get coronary heart disease than other women and they had lower
levels of total and LDL, or bad, cholesterol.
Strikes at the heart of strokes.
Apples are even a smart choice for helping avoid strokes. Scientists aren't sure
which ingredient in this multi-talented fruit to credit, but the connection is
clear - people who regularly eat apples are less likely to have strokes than
people who don't.
Protects your joints.
In areas of the world where fruits and vegetables make up a large part of the
diet, very few people get arthritis. Compare this to modernized countries where
fruits and vegetables have been replaced with fast, processed food and you'll
find up to 70 percent of the population suffers from some form of arthritis.
Just a coincidence? Not according to nutrition experts. They link this trend in
part to boron, a trace mineral many plants, including apples, absorb from the
If you eat like most people, you'll get about 1 to 2 milligrams (mg) of boron a
day, mostly from non-citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, and nuts. Experts believe,
however, you need anywhere from 3 to 10 mg a day to affect your risk of
arthritis. To boost your boron intake to this level, you'd have to eat more than
nine apples a day.
This is probably an unreasonable amount for most people, but don't despair. Pair
an apple with other boron-rich foods like a few tablespoons of peanut butter and
a large handful of raisins, and you'll not only have a delicious afternoon
snack, but you'll make your joint-saving quota of boron at the same time.
Helps you breathe deeply. Your lungs are assaulted every day by cigarette smoke,
air pollution, pollen, and other air-borne nasties.
On top of that perhaps you suffer from asthma, emphysema, or similar lung
condition. If all you want to do is take a deep breath, then grab an apple.
A five-year study of more than 2,500 men from Wales found those who ate five or
more apples per week were able to fill their lungs with more air than men who
didn't eat apples. Experts believe you might be getting some special protection
from the antioxidant quercetin. Unfortunately, eating apples can't reverse a
lung condition you already have, but you just might add a new line of defense
against further damage.
Buy apples that are unbruised, firm, and have good color. Take them out of their
plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator - loose in the produce bin or in
a paper bag is best. And since they will absorb odors, keep them away from
strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions.