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“An Apple a Day” Keeps the Doctor (and Pounds!) Away

We’ve all heard the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but have you ever wondered if there is any research to back that up?  

There are in fact many studies that suggest a variety of health benefits from eating apples.E pidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes.  And the evidence keeps mounting.

Researchers at Florida State University found that daily apple consumption had cardio protective benefits for post-menopausal women. This study randomly assigned 160 women ages 45-65 to one of two groups. One group ate dried apples daily and the other ate dried prunes every day for a year. Blood samples were taken at 3, 6 and 12-months.

The apple-eating women experienced a 23% decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol. The daily apple consumption also led to lowered lipid hydroperoxide levels and C-reactive protein—both markers of cardiovascular risk. Their HDL (good) cholesterol also rose by about 4%.

[more]And, despite consuming 240 calories of dried apple per day, the women did not gain weight. Instead, the women lost on average 3.3 lbs. The researchers credit the fruit's pectin, which is known to stave off hunger, for the weight loss.

Another group of researchers at Cornell University in New York found that the phytochemicals in apple peels called phenolics or flavonoids have potent antioxidant and anti-proliferative activities in human liver, colon and breast cancer cell cultures. Apple peel extracts rich in phenolics also reduced the development of a highly malignant tumor that is the main cause of death of breast-cancer patients by as much as 58 percent in rats.

To obtain the highest levels of these beneficial compounds, choose red apple varieties such as Red Delicious and eat the peel which contains five times the phytochemicals as the flesh of the apple. Remember to wash apples thoroughly to reduce pesticide residue or better yet, choose organic apples.




Nutrition Journal

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