Whether you’re looking for quick information, or want something to impress your friends at dinner, here’s our Featured 5 of the Week!
Fall is upon us! And, with fall comes delicious, fresh apples! We all love an afternoon of apple-picking in the crisp weather, the smell of an apple pie in the oven, or even snacking on a crisp, locally-grown apple, but we sometimes overlook all of their nutritional benefits. An apple a day really can keep the doctor away and we’re going to tell you why!
5. Good For Your Gut
You’ve heard us talk before about how important a good gut microbiome is for our health.
Studies have shown that apples may promote a good gut microbiome. This is because apples are full of fiber, including pectin. Pectin acts as a prebiotic in our bodies, which is key for keeping our microbiome healthy and for promoting the growth of good new bacteria in our intestines.
Having a diverse microbiome leads to a high-functioning immune system, better digestion, and an overall healthier you, so eat those fiber-rich apples and know your gut is thanking you!
4. Good For Your Brain
You mean, eating apples can help our brains? Yes!
Studies have shown that apples and other apple-based products may help decrease mental decline by reducing the amount of ROS, or reactive oxygen species, in brain tissue. ROS can build up and cause brain damage, but the antioxidants and other properties in apples can help reduce this.
Furthermore, apple juice concentrate was found to prevent the decline of acetylcholine, which is linked to aging and oxidative stress. A decrease in acetylcholine has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, showing that apples may be able to reduce the risk of developing this disease.
However, it’s good to note that apple juice and other apple products may contain a lot of added sugar, something that is definitely not good for us. So, try to eat whole apples as much as possible!
3. Protection against Some Cancers
According to the CDC, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., contributing to 23% of overall deaths in 2012.
Apples contain fiber and many phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that these antioxidant properties may protect a cell’s DNA from oxidative damage, a precursor to cancer; stop the spread of cancer cells; and prevent new ones from forming. Cancers linked to these effects are colon, breast, and lung cancer, but only for past smokers.
Anything we can do to reduce our risk of developing cancer is very important, and a healthy diet can be one of the best and easiest forms of protection.
2. Good for Weight Management
Many of us are always looking for that secret way to lose weight or keep bad weight off. Apples may be a great way to help!
Apples contain a lot of fiber, and, in addition to fueling our microbiome, it also helps keep us feeling fuller for longer. By eating an apple, the fiber content can help slow digestion and keep us satisfied so we don’t go looking for another snack to eat. Apples also have a low-energy-density at 0.63 calories per energy density, meaning they have fewer calories respective to their weight. In one study, participants who ate apple slices before each meal ended up eating 200 less calories a day than those who didn’t.
Rather than going for a cookie or a bag of chips, eat an apple! If you’re still feeling hungry after snacking on an apple, try adding a little nut butter. The extra protein might be just what your body needs!
1. Protection against Diet-related Illnesses
Diet-related illnesses include diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and 34% of the deaths from heart disease could have been prevented by changes in health habits.
Plant chemicals in the apple peel, such as pectin, have been shown to protect free radicals in the heart and blood vessels from damage. They have also been shown to lower the amount of LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol in the body, and the number of triglycerides, both being key contributors to diet-related illnesses. Flavonoids in apples have antioxidant effects that have been shown to protect cells in the pancreas, which helps control the secretion of insulin in people with type 2 diabetes.
A healthy diet is so important in preventing the onset of these diseases and many more health conditions. So, along with apples, be sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
And remember, fresh is always best, but if you’re looking for a special treat to spice up your apple intake, here is one of our favorite recipes for apple fritters!
The Bottom Line
Whole fruits and vegetables are extremely important when it comes to our overall health, and apples are no exception. So the next time you’re taking that selfie next to the apple tree, remember all of the amazing things you’ll be putting into your body by eating that apple.