We’ve all heard the saying, but what kind of truth is there to this age old phrase? As it turns out, quite a bit! “America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist” Suzy Cohen is passionate about the nutritional value of foods and how they affect health. While plenty of other fruit and vegetables are great for your diet, green apples are particularly rich in quercetin. As she explains “In the body, Quercetin acts like natural Claritin and Ibuprofen all at once. In other words, it’s a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. To boot, it has natural antiviral and anti-fungal properties.”. The malic acid in green apples (what makes them sour) is helpful for muscle pain- who knew?
Check out the article for more about how green apples relate to alzheimers.
Apples have long been known to be “good for you”; it’s not just new studies uncovering the effects of particular bioflavonoids making headlines. They contain high amounts of pectin, a type of soluble fibre used in jams & jellies as well as a number of other applications. Apples are a good source of this fibre that not only provides the health benefits of fibre, but is also used for high cholesterol, to prevent colon and prostate cancer, for diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While pectin is possibly the more commonly known fibre source in apples, it is not the only type of fibre present. In fact, pectin accounts for less than half of the total fibre of an apple. Pectin interacting with other phytonutrients in apples can provide blood fat lowering effects that would be expected with a much higher level of soluble fibre. This translates to a “sum is greater than the parts” approach. Eat the whole apple rather than just the juice or sauce without the peel to get full benefits.
Even more health benefits are to be had from consuming apples- they also have an effect on the gut flora. We’ve all heard about probiotics and their seemingly magical benefits. I’d be willing to bet on account of the huge marketing efforts of yogurt companies, that food is likely the first to come to mind when considering sources of beneficial bacteria. But what if I told you that “In studies on laboratory animals, intake of apples is now known to significantly alter amounts of two bacteria (Clostridiales and Bacteriodes) in the large intestine.” . Who would have associated apples with the balancing of our digestive tract?
Apples contain vitamins A, C & E: the three antioxidant vitamins! Battling free radicals and boosting immunity, there’s no questioning the benefits of these powerhouse vitamins. These micronutrients are well known to help reduce the risk of major health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma. The effect of a healthy diet including these phytonutrients on the development of some cancers is undoubtedly favorable.
From the doctor to the dentist: Eating apples is great for your oral health as well! The health of your teeth, gums & tongue is often an indication of your overall health. Taking good care of the very beginning of your digestive system can aid in not only the rest of your digestive system but your whole body. Some diseases such as diabetes can reduce the bodies ability to defend itself against smaller instances of inflammation such as gum disease- which can then be a cause of bigger problems such as endocarditis. Research has shown that those with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar. Take care of your mouth by flossing daily, brushing at least twice a day and… eating apples! The fibrous nature of an apple is kind of like an extra brushing of the teeth and helps remove bacteria which may reduce the risk of tooth decay.
An apple a day- easier said than done? Personally I find that I am more likely to eat apples if I take the time to prepare (read: cut up and remove the membrane + seeds) the fruit. A little lemon juice will prevent the cut fruit from browning if that is a concern and a dab of nut butter turns it into a treat (just avoid butters of the peanut variety that contain sugar- I like Adams. Here are a few more great ways to incorporate more apple into your diet:
Baked Apple Chips
Carrot Apple Bread
Chicken Salad on Apple Slices
If you’re feeling creative, try your hand at an apple swan! My moms favourite way (and mine) to get us to eat more apples as kids: