Sometimes, there is just nothing better than biting into a crisp, slightly tart, slightly sweet apple and having that dribble of apple juice run down your chin. It makes my mouth water just describing it.
I like my apples. I eat an apple about every day. I recently posted on Facebook that I had just had the best apple that I thought I had ever eaten. I was amazed at how many comments this post garnered. Apparently, people feel very strongly about their apple allegiances. My personal preference is pink lady.
Not only are apples good, but they are good for you – even better than originally thought. It has been found that apples have many benefits for your whole body. Thanks to two key components, pectin (a type of fiber) and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), apples can lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol — the chemical process that turns it into artery-clogging plaque. Make sure you eat the peel because apple skin has two to six times the antioxidant compounds as the flesh. Consuming apples has been shown to decrease the risk of lung, breast, liver, colon, and other cancers, as well as heart disease and asthma. Apples may also be associated with a lower risk for diabetes.
Apples have also been linked to brain benefits. In animal studies, eating apples has been shown to potentially decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and to decrease the mental decline associated with age. This is thought to possibly be because they boost the production of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells. It has been determined that the quercetin in apples may protect brain cells from free radical damage.
It has also been shown that eating white fleshed fruits and vegetables, such as apples and pears, could reduce stroke risk by as much as 52%. A Dutch study published in “Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association,” determined that each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits and vegetable consumption was linked with a 9 percent lower stroke risk. The average apple weighs 120 grams. Just an apple a day could reduce your risk of stroke to the degree in the study.
The Dutch study didn’t offer definitive evidence as to why fruits and vegetables with white flesh reduce the risk of stroke, but they did suggest a few possible reasons. Apples and pears are full of fiber that is beneficial for cardiovascular health. The anti-inflammatory qualities of the quercetin found in these fruits and vegetables could be a significant contributing factor because inflammation has been linked with hardening of the arteries.
An apple a day really will keep the doctor away.