EHS Corporate Care
As one of the oldest-known cultivated fruits, apples are associated with everything from wisdom to temptation to fertility. Legends of the apple began as early as 8,000 B.C. when Norse mythology credited the goddess Iounn with giving apples to the gods for eternal youthfulness.
Luckily for us, the mythology of the apple isn’t too far from the truth. With no fat, cholesterol or sodium, the nutrients in apples have been widely studied and are proven to provide a long list of health benefits.
How does this 80-calorie snack gain so much credit? Apples contain a long list of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants. This list includes quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. The flavonoid antioxidants found in apples also helps prevent excessive and unwanted inflammation, which ultimately stops excessive clumping of blood platelets, regulates blood pressure, and minimizes overproduction of fat in liver cells. Thus, flavonoids assist in lowering the risk of future heart disease and even improve existing symptoms of heart disease.
Another reason for busy executives to snack on an apple is because multiple studies indicate that apples reduce the risk of several types of cancer. In one study of 10,000 people, researchers found that people who ate the most apples had a 50 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer. Cornell University studies found that rats eating one apple per day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17 percent, while rats fed three apples per day reduced their risk by 39 percent and those fed six apples per day reduced their risk by 44 percent. Another study found that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 43 percent lower risk of colon cancer and a 57 percent lower risk of liver cancer. These lucky rats also benefited from quercetin, as researchers found it may protect brain cells from the types of free radical damage that is thought to lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Antioxidants aren’t the only reason to eat apples. Apples are contain both soluble and insoluble fiber with about 4 grams of dietary fiber in a medium-sized apple–accounting for nearly 15 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for fiber. Studies have shown that both types of fiber can help keep LDL cholesterol levels under control.
Managing diabetes is yet another health benefit. The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid, which lowers the body’s need for insulin. For female executives, French researchers found that a flavanoid called phloridzin that is found only in apples may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density.
The amount of apples to eat depends on the health benefit you are seeking. In some studies, eating one medium-sized apple three days per week can provide heart benefits, while eating two apples per day may lower cholesterol by as much as 16 percent. And according to a Brazilian study, three apples per day facilitated a higher weight loss in women while dieting. To take full advantage of the apple, it’s important to eat the skin as it contains more antioxidants and fiber than the flesh, as well as being the only part of the apple that contains quercetin.
Keeping the doctor at bay isn’t the only reason to eat apples. To learn more about which foods can best improve your health, contact your doctor at EHS Corporate Care for a full dietary plan custom-tailored to your needs.
Authorized for use by John P. Mamana, M.D.
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