30 Aug Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away – The Science Behind the Saying
There is a growing appreciation and understanding of the link between the consumption of apples and apple juice products and improved health. Apples contain a rich phytochemical profile of biologically-active components such as polyphenols flavonoids which show a positive connection to protective health and lowering disease risk in many observational studies. A large Finnish study involving 10,000 men and women with a 24-year follow up, concluded a strong inverse correlation between apple flavonoid intake and lung cancer.
Other follow up studies in Italy and Hawaii confirm further protection against colon cancer. Apples change the microbiome and promote gut friendly bacteria in the colon. Carotenoid extracts from apple peel have been effective against H pylori bacteria which can cause gastric ulcers.
Apples contain soluble fiber known as pectin which can help in lowering blood fats such as Low density lipoproteins LDL cholesterol. The flavonoid Quercetin found in the skin and peels of apples has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that may help reduce allergy and asthma symptoms. Several studies have documented the antioxidant benefits by decreasing oxidations of fats lowering the risk of clogging of the arteries and preventing strokes.
An exciting new Italian study observed laboratory rats fed apples could reduce anxious behavior in elevated maze tests and restore nerve connections to the level of young animals. Apple juice concentrate can also suppress the proliferation of Amyloid deposits which are a hallmark of Alzheimer disease. Research has shown that it can also prevent the decline of a neurotransmitter acetylcholine in animals with aging oxidative stress thereby slowing down memory impairment and maintaining cognitive performance.
Patients suffering with type 2 diabetes may benefit from increased apple consumption as it helps stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin thereby increasing glucose uptake from the blood via insulin receptors. and lowering blood sugar levels. Granny smith and red delicious apples have higher amounts of the beneficial fiber and phytonutrients but all apples are an excellent source of polyphenols.
Always choose organically grown apples without pesticide residues. Remember eating an apple a day can keep a doctor away and possibly lower your temptation to consume unhealthy food choices. Applesauce, apple butter, dried apples, apple pie, and apple crisp are other ways to enjoy this nutrient dense food source that originated in the Garden of Eden.