You may have heard the famous quote “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but, is there any truth to it?In a n article published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers from Cornell University summarized their findings of a literature review of the potential health benefits of apple consumption.
Apples, like all fruits, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, these nutrients don’t seem to be completely responsible for all of the apple’s positive health effects. Phytochemicalsare compounds that also play an important role as antioxidants, among other functions. We usually get more benefit from eating the whole fruit, with its naturally occurring substances, than from taking a vitamin supplement. Health benefits are typically a result of the interaction among the different components in food.
The Cornell lead literature review concluded that apples have a high antioxidant activity, which helps prevent cell damage, and could play an important role in the prevention of chronic diseases, as well as in the delay of aging. Moreover, different laboratory tests showed that certain substances found naturally in apples can inhibit the proliferation of carcinogenic cells, and this could be important in the prevention of some types of cancer. Various studies in rats concluded that the consumption of apples helped reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, which is directly related to atherosclerosis.
Cornell’s study group also analyzed the impact of storage and processing methods in the properties of apples. They concluded that the type of storage did not influence its nutritional properties, but processing methods (as in juices) may result in the loss of certain nutrients. Therefore, we suggest you eat whole, fresh apples, with their peel, whenever possible. Many beneficial substances, such as vitamins, phytochemicals and fiber, are found in the peel. By removing the peel of an apple, you are losing much of its nutritional value.
As you have probably noticed by now, the popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is not so far from truth. Enjoy this delicious fruit as part of your breakfast, as a refreshing snack, or as a perfect dessert.
Boyer, Jeanelle; R. Hai Liu (2004). “Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits.” Journal of Nutrition. Retrieved in August, 2008 from http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-3-5.pdf.
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