Apple season is here. Take advantage of all the health benefits these juicy gems have to offer like protection against aging, oxidative stress and disease.
It turns out that the old cliche we have all heard since we were young is true. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We’ve always known that apples are healthy for us, but what is it about apples that makes them so important to include in our daily diet?
Apples contain high amounts of antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid. These phytochemicals protect against “oxidative stress” which is the damage that is done to cells and DNA by oxidation. Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are both thought to be highly related to this type of cell damage, apples are considered to be a food with super healing powers.
The National Cancer Institute reported that apples and other foods containing these flavonoids may reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as 50 percent. Quercetin was found to help prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells in a 2001 study done by the Mayo Clinic. The Cornell University did a study that showed that phytochemicals in the apple’s skin inhibited the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43 percent.
Apples are really high in phenolic compounds, which are a very large class of biochemically active substances, most of which belong to the flavonoid group. There are thousands of flavonoids but what is really important to know about them is that they are really beneficial to your health. Apples have the highest portion of free phenolics, which means that they are not attached to other compounds in the fruit. This means that they’re more available for absorption into your bloodstream, where they can go to work providing you with their cancer-fighting abilities.
Studies have shown that apple consumption has decreased the presence of asthma and may be associated with a lower risk of diabetes.
Apples contain an important source of soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and helps regulate blood sugar.
Apples also protect against osteoporosis with their high amounts of boron, which is a mineral that has real bone-building properties. Boron is necessary to prevent osteoporosis and arthritis.
So with all their amazing health benefits, including up to five grams of fiber per apple, which one should you choose? Red Delicious, Gala, Pink Lady or Granny Smith? All of the different types are potent in their antioxidant activity but the Red Delicious is thought to have the most.