Keep A Doctor Away With An Apple A Day
We all heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” What is the meaning behind this, and what are the health benefits of an apple a day in the modern world?
Over 8,000 varieties of apples are available worldwide, and new ones are created regularly. This is an amazing number compared to tomatoes. There are only 100 different types!
The apple is the most widely available fruit in the world, and apple trees are cultivated worldwide.
- Family: Rosaceae (Order: Rosales)
- Genus: Malus
- Species: M. Domestica
- Kingdom: Plantae
History Of The Apple
The apple, a sweet edible fruit growing on apple trees, originated in the Mountains of Kazakhstan, Central Asia. The Malus sieversii, the great-grandparent of Malus Domestica, is today's modern domesticated apple.
The apple trees (Malus Domestica) are cultivated worldwide and are the most grown fruit worldwide. The malus sierversii tree can still be found as a wild version.
10 Main Benefits Of Eating Apples
1. They Are Extremely Nutritious
- Vitamin A and C
- Many different phytochemicals, which are all strong antioxidants, like:
- Chlorogenic Acid
- and lots of dietary fibre (about equal to an oatmeal cookie).
2. They Help With Weight Loss
The #1 goal for most people in North America is to lose weight. An apple eaten on an empty stomach will satisfy cravings for sweets, reduce appetite due to high fibre and water content, and go through our system in about ½ hour.
I personally only eat juicy fruit like apples, melons and berries until noon. Of course, I realize that people who are on medications cannot do that. They have to eat a “substantial” breakfast. However, eating an apple half an hour before breakfast will reduce your appetite. 100 grams of apples contains only 52 calories.
Note: Eating an apple ½ hour before a substantial meal is essential. Otherwise, it can cause digestive problems. An apple only takes ½ hour to be digested. Depending on what it is, heavy meals will take up to 8 hours to move through our system.
3. They Are Good For Heart Health
Researchers found that people who eat apples have a lower risk of heart disease. These deliciously healthy fruits contain soluble fibre, which can help lower cholesterol levels.
An apple also contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant effects. Please remember that many are concentrated in the peel, so always eat an apple with its peel.
One of the polyphenols is flavonoid epicatechin, which may lower blood pressure. Flavonoids can reduce the risk of stroke, especially when eaten in high quantities.
They are known to help prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol oxidation and acting as antioxidants.
Another study compared the effects of eating an apple a day to taking statins — a drug prescribed to lower cholesterol — concluded that eating an apple instead of taking the medication would be almost as effective at reducing death from heart disease as the medication. These findings must be taken with a grain of salt since no official tests were done.
Another study linked consuming white-fleshed fruits, such as apples and pears, to reduce stroke risk. Eating only 25 grams or about ⅕ cup of apple slices can reduce the risk of stroke by almost 10%.
4. They Are Linked To Lowering The Risk Of Becoming A Diabetic
Researchers say eating apples regularly can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Another study showed that eating an apple a day was linked to an almost 30% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than not eating any apples at all. You will get a similar protective effect even when you only eat a few apples per week.
Apples contain polyphenols that might help prevent tissue damage to our pancreas' beta cells. Beta cells are often damaged in people with type 2 diabetes, which is bad because they are responsible for producing insulin in our bodies.
5. They Have Prebiotic Effects And Promote Good Gut Bacteria
Apples contain a certain type of fibre which is called pectin. Pectin acts as a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
Your small intestine doesn't absorb fibre while your body is digesting. Instead, the prebiotic enters your colon, where the good bacteria will grow. These prebiotics also turns into other helpful compounds that circulate back through your body.
Recent research suggests that apples may protect against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
6. They Contain Substances Which Help Prevent Cancer
Research shows a link between a plant compound in an apple and a lowering risk of cancer.
On top of that, one study on women reported that eating apples were linked to lower cancer death rates.
Scientists believe apples' antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components may be responsible for their potential cancer-preventive effects.
7. They Contain A Compound That Can Help Asthma Prone People
I can personally vouch for this. I used to have asthma (from the age of 1½ years old) and allergies (as a teenager). All symptoms disappeared after I started eating mainly raw fruit.
They say the antioxidants in apples may help protect your lungs from oxidative damage.
Apple skin contains flavonoids. They can help reduce inflammation and regulate the immune system. These are two ways in which eating apples may affect asthma and allergic reactions.
8. They Strengthen Your Bones
Eating an apple or other fruit is linked to higher bone density. This is how you measure the health of your bones.
Researchers believe an apple's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients or many other fruits may promote bone strength and density.
Some studies show that apples may positively affect your bone density and health.
In another study, women ate a meal that included fresh apples, peeled apples, applesauce, or no apple products (control group). The group who ate apples lost less calcium than the control group.
9. They Are Good For Your Oral Health
Chewing the fruit's fibrous texture and skin can stimulate your gums, reduce cavity-causing bacteria, and increase saliva flow. Like other crisp, raw vegetables and fruits, apples can also gently remove plaque trapped between teeth.
Apples strengthen your bones. As you read above, apples have potassium. Potassium improves bone mineral density. Your teeth are made from bones as well.
10. They May Be Good For Brain Health
Most research focuses on an apple's peel and flesh.
However, fresh and raw apple juice may also benefit age-related mental decline.
Fresh apple juice may help preserve acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can decline with age. Low levels of acetylcholine are linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Of course, it is always better to eat whole fruits. They contain the same compounds as apple juice, and eating whole fruit is always a healthier choice.
Apples Grown In Canada
There are only a few species native to Canada. They are McIntosh, Spartan and Ambrosia. Today there are many more varieties cultivated in Canada: Red & Golden Delicious, Gala, Jonagold, Northern Spy, Empire, Cortland and Honeycrisp.
The main commercial growing regions are Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario (regions around Lake Ontario and Lake Erie).
Today's Favourites In Canada
The Red Delicious kind used to be Canada's favourite. The following species have overtaken it:
- Granny Smith
- Pink Lady
My personal favourites are Gala, Courtland, and Honeycrisp. I used to love Granny Smith and Golden Delicious too. However, I got away from them for some reason.
Little Known Facts
- Apples are only the second most consumed fruit in the world (69%). The bananas are leading with 73%.
- The apples are part of the rose family, like plums and pears.
- Apple trees take 4 to 5 years to produce their first fruit.
- Trees can get as old as 100 years.
- There are more than 8,000 varieties, making them the largest fruit variety.
- To produce one apple, it takes energy from 50 leaves.
- New York City is nicknamed “the big apple.”
Apples are incredibly good for you.
- Eating 1 – 2 apples daily is linked to a lower risk of many major diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer.
- What’s more, its soluble fibre content may promote weight loss and gut health.
- A medium apple equals 1½ cups of fruit — which is ¾ of the 2-cup daily recommendation for fruit.
- You benefit from healthy apples the most when you eat the whole apple, including the skin.
I trust you enjoyed this article about Keep A Doctor Away With An Apple A Day. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
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Would you like to grow your own apples? However, your garden area is too small? Please click here to read my blog on the 11 Steps To Grow Apples In Containers. You can also find many articles about container gardening on my Close-To-Nature.org website.