Why an a day keeps doctor away?

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Sometimes, there’s nothing better than biting into a crisp, slightly tart, slightly sweet apple and having that dribble of apple juice run down your chin.  It makes my mouth water just describing it.

I like my apples and eat one almost every day. Recently, I posted on Facebook that I had just had the best apple that I thought I’d ever eaten and was amazed at how many comments the post attracted.  Apparently, people feel very strongly about their apple allegiances.  My personal preference is pink lady.

Not only are apples good, but they are good for you – even better than originally thought.  Research has shown that apples have many benefits for your whole body.  Thanks to two key components, pectin (a type of fiber) and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), apples can lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol — the chemical process that turns it into artery-clogging plaque. Make sure you eat the peel because apple skin has two to six times the antioxidant compounds as the flesh. Consuming apples has been shown to decrease the risk of lung, breast, liver, colon, and other cancers, as well as heart disease and asthma.  Apples may be associated with a lower risk for diabetes.

Apples have also been linked to brain benefits.  In animal studies, eating apples has been shown to potentially decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and to decrease age related mental decline.  These benefits are thought to possibly be because they boost the production of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells. The quercetin in apples has been shown to protect brain cells from free radical damage.

Studies have shown that eating white fleshed fruits and vegetables, such as apples and pears, could reduce stroke risk by as much as 52%.  A Dutch study published in “Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association,” determined that each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits and vegetable consumption was linked with a 9 percent lower stroke risk.  The average apple weighs 120 grams. Just an apple a day could reduce your risk of stroke to the degree in the study.

The Dutch study didn’t offer definitive evidence as to why fruits and vegetables with white flesh reduce the risk of stroke, but a few possible reasons were suggested. Apples and pears are full of fiber that is beneficial for cardiovascular health.  The anti-inflammatory qualities of the quercetin found in these fruits and vegetables could be a significant contributing factor because inflammation has been linked with hardening of the arteries.

An apple a day really can keep the doctor away and more!

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