“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We’ve all heard it before, but I honestly had no idea how true that statement really was until I started digging through the research. I think you’ll be surprised by all the health benefits. I know I was. Such an easy, convenient, portable little fruit can do so much good for your body. Eating for you health does not have to be complicated or confusing. It really is as easy as an apple a day. Here’s why:
Neurological Conditions –Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
Amazingly, apples show a positive impact on neurological issues, especially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggested that apple juice consumption may increase the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine. An increased amount of acetylcholine in the brain is linked to improved concentration, problem solving, and memory. In terms of Parkinson’s, apples appear to stop the gradual breakdown of dopamine-producing nerve cells, which can be an underlying cause of Parkinson’s.
Cancer Prevention – Breast, Colon, Lung
Most fruits and vegetables have some anti-cancer effects, but apples top the list for some specific types of cancers. According to Rui Hai Liu, a prominent Cornell researcher, there is growing evidence suggesting that an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer. She believes fruits, like apples, provide you with more phenolics, which are proving to have important health benefits. In regards to lung cancer, studies have suggested that apples show a distinct and undeniable capacity to reduce lung cancer and slow its spread if it does develop. This is believed to take place because of apples’ high phytonutrient content, including kaempferol and quercetin.
Reduce Risk of Stroke
Researchers concluded that the intake of apples is related to a decreased risk of thrombotic stroke. They discovered this after studying 9,208 men and women. Over the course of a 28-year period, the men and women who ate the most apples had the lowest risk of stroke.
Apples are good for your heart in that they lower the level of cholesterol in the body. A group of researchers from The Florida State University found that older women who ate apples everyday had 23% less bad cholesterol (LDL) and 4% more good cholesterol (HDL) after just six months. The antioxidant activity in apples reduces the oxidation of fats, called lipid peroxidation and includes neutralizing triglycerides and various fats found between blood vessels that can exert dangerous pressure.
Managing and Reducing the Risk of Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you know that controlling blood sugar is essential to your health. It turns out that the polyphenols in apples have been directly linked to reducing the uptake of carbohydrates by the body. This, in turn, reduces the fluctuation of blood sugar levels that occur in your bloodstream. These polyphenols also stimulate the insulin receptors on the cells throughout your body. This speeds up the removal of sugar from your blood stream and gets it into your cells. This is needed for metabolism and proper organ function.
And, there’s good news if you don’t have diabetes. A study involving 187,382 people found that people who ate three servings per week of apples, grapes, raisins, blueberries, or pears had a 7% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not.
Yes, that’s right…apples can help you lose weight! According to a study in Food Chemistry, apples contain non-digestable compounds that promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut associated with weight loss.
Here’s how it works: Fiber and polyphenols, the non-digestable compounds, remain in the colon until they’re fermented. This is a good thing because they act as food for good bacteria and help your body outweigh the bad bacteria that thrives on junk food. This restored microbial balance appears to reduce chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of obesity and boosts feelings of fullness to keep you from overeating.
Aren’t you amazed by all the incredible things apples do for your body? And, believe it or not, that’s not all. Apples also can have a positive impact on those with anemia, rheumatism, eye disorders, and digestive issues. The list just goes on and on. I encourage you to start eating an apple a day. It might not keep the doctor away forever, but it will have a positive impact on your health.
Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!
Melissa Merkle and Kirt Lietzow own Boomers N Motion, an exercise and health coaching business focused on keeping baby boomers and older adults healthy into their golden years. For more information on group classes and private, in-home coaching, please contact Melissa and Kirt at coaches@boomersNmotion.com.