Why an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

a0015-000088Apples are from a tree known as Malus pumila or Malus domestica which originated in Central Asia. Apple tree is widely cultivated in the world and in the tropical zones of Nigeria – China is the highest producer of apple accounting for 49% of the world production in 2013. Apples come in different colors mainly red and green.

Apples can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. The fruit contains water, sugars, soluble dietary fiber and variety of phytochemicals. The following are the health benefits of apple:

 Keeps your heart healthy

Intake of flavanoids, quercetin, catechin and epicatechin found in apple may help prevent chronic inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular or heart diseases. In a particular study, Women taking apples daily had a 13–22% decrease in cardiovascular disease risk. Past studies also show that flavonoids in apple can reduce the risk of stroke by 20 percent and can prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure.  Also, consuming quercetin-rich foods, including apple peel, may help prevent chronic inflammation, which could lead to cardiovascular disease, by the action of quercetin on the cells lining the blood vessels

 Reduce the risk of developing Diabetes

Even though apple is rich in simple sugars, it has low glycemic index – glycemic index is a range of numbers used to reflect the effect of food on blood sugar. Past research studies suggest that fruits with low or moderate glycemic index may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, higher quercetin intake, a component of apple, has been associated with a decreased risk in type II diabetes.

 Reduces risk of cancer

Apples are high in flavanoids  and polyphenols which has been found in many research studies to reduce the risk of cancer especially lung and colon.Also, research carried out in Cornell University found that using apple extract in the treatment of colon cancer inhibit cell proliferation by 43percent, it was also found that the antioxidants in apple in combination with the phytochemicals helps to prevent cell and tissue damage from free radicals in the body.

 Helps in weight loss

A 100g of apple contain 86percent of water and low caloric content of 52kcal, making it very suitable for those that want to lose weight. Apples have no saturated fat or cholesterol and it has a filling effect after consumption due to its richness in soluble dietary fiber

Helps to lower blood sugar and cholesterol

There are rising evidences that show that intake of apples may lower blood cholesterol, this may due to the fact that apples are rich in soluble dietary fiber. This benefit is another mechanism through which apple helps to lose weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases

 Rich in Vitamin C and other antioxidants

Apples are rich in Vitamin C which can help your body resist infectious diseases and increase the rate of iron absorption in the body. Also, 100 grams of fresh apple with skins provides a total anti-oxidant activity equal to 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C, this can prevent damage to cells and tissues of the body by preventing the activity of free radical molecules. Theantioxidants and phytochemicals in apple can also help promote bone density and strength.

 Other benefits…

Apples carry small quantities of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and calcium which may help to control the heart rate and blood pressure. Substances found in apple may help reduce inflammation, thus, help to reduce the risk of asthma

Nutritional facts of Apple

appleSource: USDA National Nutrient Database.

 Further resources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23244535

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26787402

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/140/3/600.abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22400181

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