Consider as a New Years’ Resolution: The Old Proverb: “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!“ New research says is True!
The apple is believed to have originated in Eastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. Despite the bad PR Apples received from the Garden of Eden, there is no evidence that Eve “up-set the Apple Cart” by giving One to Adam! Most current opinion is that Eve probably gave a Pomegranate to Adam and it was not a serpent that instigated the demise, but a career Politician with a Law Degree!
Due to both its popular taste and incredible nutritional properties, it has spread to every temperate climate across the globe and has been cultivated to over 7000 different varieties.
You need to eat the “Whole” apple, including the skin to get all of the nutritional benefits of the fruit. Not only does the skin contain the fiber, the current juicing process negates the polyphenolic phytonutrients. Most of the polyphenols in apples are powerful antioxidants, including the ability to decrease the oxidation of cell membrane fats. This is particularly critical in our Cardiovascular (CV) system since it is the oxidation of fat in cell membranes of the lining of our blood vessels that lead to atherosclerosis and other CV diseases.
Apples have also been shown to reduce Cardiorespiratory (CR) problems, including Asthma and Lung Cancer.
Apples have been shown to reduce total Cholesterol, LDL- cholesterol and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Apples have been shown to improve our regulation of our blood sugar by slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates. Quercetin and other flavonoids in apples act to inhibit alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase, which are carbohydrate- digesting enzymes. Inhibiting these enzymes slows the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars, which reduces or eliminates the bloodstreams need to accommodate more sugar.
Another benefit of the polyphenols in apples is that it clearly lowers the rate of glucose absorption from your digestion tract. This reduces the sugar load on your bloodstream and provides you energy over a longer period of time.
The polyphenols contained in apples have been found to stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. This carries the sugar out of the blood to the cells where it is readily available for energy and to keep your blood sugar level in better balance.
The polyphenols in apples help to activate the muscle insulin cell receptors, making the cells more receptive to glucose uptake. Uptake of glucose to the cells from the bloodstream is critical to maintain your energy levels and is a clear health benefit to blood -sugar regulation.
The current research continues to show apples have numerous Anti-cancer benefits, including: Colon cancer, Breast cancer, and Lung cancer. Apples may be the number one fruit for the prevention of Lung cancer.
In one study, apples showed a better risk reduction for asthma than total vegetables and fruit intake combined (when apples were not regularly consumed).
The caloric breakdown for the typical apple:
From Carbohydrate: 90
From Fat: 3
From Protein: 2
The 6 most important Flavonoids in apples:
1) Quercetin: Shown to reduce inflammation (particularly in your CV system; increase immunity, reduce allergies, slow the growth of some kinds of cancer cells)
2) Myricetin: Anti-cancer properties: Specific actions against colon, pancreatic, and skin cancer; inhibits LDL Cholesterol Oxidization – a known risk factor for stroke and heart attack.
3) Kaempferol: Reduces oxidative damage to your cells and DNA; Prevents CV disease, Anti-inflammatory; Reduced risk of pancreatic and skin cancer
4) Epicatechin: Lowers rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes; improves memory; Reduction of fatty deposits in and degeneration of arteries.
5) Chlorogenic Acid: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; Aids in weight loss by improving glucose tolerance for less fat – storing excess insulin. Green Coffee Bean Extract is the most potent source, but an apple/day will certainly help.
6) Procyanidin B2: Stimulate hair growth
Nutrition profiles and the consensus of numerous studies seem to indicate that the most nutritious apples (and there are many opinions on this matter) are: Winesap, Heirloom Black Ozark, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, Red Delicious, Liberty, Braeburn and from across the pond, UK, the Pendragon.
Keep in mind with 7,000 varieties to choose from, you can and should go with a variety or varieties that you enjoy. Always try to purchase organic, conventionally grown apples are heavily sprayed with chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides and wax applied to their skin to shine them up for display and appeal. Be sure to wash your apples thoroughly especially when purchasing through chain grocery stores.
The IFPA recommends you eat at least one/day. The 7,000+ varieties allow you some flexibility if you are one of those who get bored easily when eating the same things everyday.
The Brazilian diet requires you to eat 2 apples, 20-30 minutes prior to every meal and while it showed great weight loss results, eating 6 apples/day can get very tedious for a large percent of the population.
Apples can survive in your refrigerator at 35-39 degrees for 3-4 months, but to get the maximum amount of nutrients from your apple consumption, eat them as fresh as possible.
If you need some additional variety in your daily apple consumption try adding cinnamon, nutmeg and/or dark honey (dark honey contain far more antioxidants than light varieties; (it is highly recommended you eat “local” varieties of honey to help with prevention and reduction of allergies), sprinkled over your apple slices.
You can easily fool yourself into believing you are eating “Apple Pie” with the right ingredients!
Dr. Jim Bell