Apples and other fruits and vegetables are good for us, offering many health benefits. If nothing else, we’ve all heard the expression, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” That saying has been around for generations. Did you ever wonder why they say that?
I have wondered it if it might be true in general. Even more so after reading an article recently. The article said that in a study using mathematical models, an apple a day versus taking a statin each day TIED in effectiveness.
I’m not saying you should stop taking your statin. That’s for a doctor to tell you. Still it was a surprising conclusion that an apple may have such an influence on cholesterol levels.
It continually amazes me to hear just how much a particular natural food offers such an impressive benefit.
It makes me wonder what a diet would look like if we ate only for the health benefits. One apple. Perhaps an orange for another fruit, or some melon. A few servings of leafy greens like my favorite spinach. Oatmeal with blueberries. A handful of walnuts. A tomato. And so on. It wouldn’t be that hard to incorporate the best into our diets, would it?
I don’t know how well statistical models work in real life, but the possibility of it made me add more apples to my grocery list this week.
Why an apple a day?
Scientists often take issue with the statement that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Tests have shown that is not necessarily true. The statement seems to originate in Wales in the mid 1800’s, and still is popular today. While Most fruits and vegetables offer similar nutrients, the apple does offer many benefits. In earlier days it was a fruit that would store for 200 days or more which may be why it was the center of the quote.
In spite of this, no one will suggest it isn’t good for us to eat that apple every day. There is no down side. With the low calories, the energy boost, and the many nutritional benefits, why not add it to the daily menu. It is still recommended for healthy development and overall wellness.
An average sized apple contains under 100 calories. In those calories you find no cholesterol or saturated fats. What you do find are carbohydrates, in the good carb form that helps sustain energy.
Now would be a good time to mention negative calorie foods. Apples always make that list. In theory, a negative calorie food is one that takes energy to eat and to burn sufficiently to use up the calories it contains. Part of that is because of water content as well. For the apple, it is over 80 % water.
Most scientists debunk the theory of negative calorie foods as being impossible, so don’t look to eat them all day thinking you will consume no calories. Yet for whatever truth there is that it will use up some calories, why not include them in your balanced diet?
One of the chief benefits in the apple is the anti-oxidants it contains. The flavonoids and polyphenolics in an apple include quercitin, procyanidin B2, tartaric acid, and epicatechin, all excellence to protect against the infamous free radicals that can harm the body. By the way, the skin contains the majority of the quercitin, as are the majority of the anti-oxidants. Eat the peel too.
That fiber content in the form of pectin aids the body in fighting absorption of bad cholesterol as well as offering protection to the Colon to help fight off colon cancer.
Apples are also a good source of vitamin c and beta carotene. C is another strong anti oxidant that helps the body resist infection and inflammation.
This little nutrient aids in brain health and bone strength.
B Vitamins and More
To aid metabolism an apple has an assortment of B complex vitamins such as B6, thiamin, and riboflavin. Add to that calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Potassium aids blood pressure and the heart rate, and helps offset the affects of sodium.
It’s nutrients may even reduce the risk of diabetes and lung cancer.
How Many Do You Eat in a Week?
It is easy to include apples into your daily diet. A favorite of mine is to spread apple slices with peanut butter. Protein plus complex carb, a combo will keep you satisfied longer and give you more energy besides. Even a half an apple is a good start.
Cooked or raw, while the nutrient value may vary, they are still very good for you. What often makes the cooked version less healthy is the added sugar and other ingredients used when cooking.
If you aren’t part of the apple a day supporters. Why not at least try to double your intake to 3 or 4 a week. You might be surprised at how you feel.