Apples are one of the staple fruits. That is they are nearly always available, and we don't usually consider them exotic in the same way we might say a mango or a lychee. Apples are a unique fruit. The combination of the particular nutrients found in apples work together producing something that cannot be replicated.
Apples have a very high level of phytonutrients which act as antioxidants. Because these are mostly found in the skin, or close to the skin it is important to find ways of eating the skin of the apple. The fiber in apples is both soluble, pectin, and insoluble, cellulose. As well as vitamins and minerals apples contain flavonoids, which are a type of phytonutrient.
One of the flavonoids in apples is quercetin. Quercetin has had a fair amount of research done on it, the results of which show that it has very important health benefits. Researchers in Finland did long term studies on this and found that quercetin, particularly as found in apples, is the flavonoid with the best potential health promoting capabilities.
Here are seven areas of health where apples have been found to be useful.
- Protection of the cardiovascular system due to the antioxidant factors in apples.
- Dietary fiber helps to keep LDL cholesterol levels in check. Eating two apples a day may lower cholesterol by as much as 16%.
- Flavonoids help to deal with inflammation and clumping of blood platelets. They also regulate blood pressure and production of fat in the liver. They help to lower the risk of heart disease and even after heart disease has occurred, can help to improve the health of the heart.
Studies to date have shown that apples could reduce the risk of lung cancer. Other types of cancer that apples have the potential to help to protect against include prostate, breast and colon. There is still ongoing research that is being done on these topics, but the possibility of apples being protective against cancer is very interesting.
Asthma and Lung Health
Apples could have an ability to support lung health. Asthmatic children who drank apple juice each day had less wheezing than those who only drank it once a month.
That apples may protect brain cells from the damage that leads to Alzheimer's disease has been shown in a study on mice.
Management of Diabetes
The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which reduces the need for insulin. Eating an apple in between meals can help to regulate blood sugar.
A study in Brazil found that more weight loss was obtained from dieters when they ate three apples or pears each day than those dieters that did not eat the fruit.
Protection of Bones
Another flavonoid in apples called phloridzin may help increase bone density thus protecting post menopausal women from osteoporosis. Boron, a mineral found in apples is known for its bone strengthening ability.
There are many different types of apples and they all have differing amounts of various nutrients. Try using many different varieties of apples. As well as increasing apple consumption, it might give a wider cross section of the different amazing nutrients that are found in apples.