Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?!
We all know this little phrase which was first used in print in the February 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine and went as follows, “A Pembrokeshire proverb. Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” But does the rhyme have any value? Could the common apple honestly help a person to maintain perfect health?
Let’s look at the possible health benefits of apples
- Improving neurological health. Quercetin, an antioxidant in apples, helps to reduce cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons.
- Preventing dementia. By protecting neuron cells, apples have been shown to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Warding off breast cancer. The phenolics in apples can help protect against a range of cancers.
- Preventing obesity. The high fibre content and pectins in apples help to slow digestion and lower blood sugar levels.
- Reducing the risk of diabetes. A study involving 187,382 people found that people who ate 3 servings per week of apples, grapes, raisins, blueberries or pears had a 7% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not.
- Lowering levels of bad cholesterol. A group of researchers at The Florida State University found that older women who ate apples every day had 23% less bad cholesterol (LDL) and 4% more good cholesterol (HDL) after just six months.
- Reducing your risk of stroke. A study involving 9208 people showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28 year period had the lowest risk of stroke.
- Lessening pain and inflammation. The polyphenol content of apples has been shown to lessen pain and inflammation and can even protect against muscle damage during exercise.
- Neutralising irritable bowel syndrome. The high fibre content of apples helps stabilise the digestive process through the colon thus reducing constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
Researchers from Oxford University found that eating an apple a day could be just as effective as statins in preventing vascular deaths in people over 50.
While an apple a day will go a long way towards keeping the doctor away, most nutritionists recommend a varied diet. In addition to apples, load your shopping basket with citrus fruits, tropical treats like mangoes and bananas and a variety of berries. Eating several servings of a variety of fruits each day may truly be the best way to keep the doctor away!
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