Friday, June 5, 2009

An Apple A Day Keeps The doctor Away

With the old saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away in mind, I thought it would be interesting to discover what health benefits are attributable to apples.

What is in an apple?
It would seem that an apple is equal to more than the sum of all its parts. That is to say that the components in the apple work together to produce something that cannot be mimicked by taking the known nutrients of the apple separately.

Apples contain lots of phytonutrients. These function as antioxidants. A lot of these are found in and close to the skin, so throwing away the apple skin is to throw away a very important part of the apple.
Apples contain fibre, both soluble e.g. pectin, and insoluble e.g. cellulose.
Flavonoids are found in apples.

Heart Health
  • The antioxidant factors in apples help protect the cardiovascular system.
  • Both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre has been found to keep LDL cholesterol levels in check. Some say that one medium apple three times a week is enough to gain some benefits. Although one study showed that eating two apples per day may lower cholesterol by as much as 16%.
  • Flavonoids help the heart in many ways. They help to deal with inflammation and clumping of blood platelets. They can help to regulate blood pressure and production of fat in the liver cells. Flavonoids not only help to lower the risk of heart disease but they also improve heart health after heart disease has happened.


There is still much research to be done but there has been some indication that apples can reduce the risk of lung cancer. Some studies on animals show that apples may help in reducing the risk of both colon and breast cancer.

Asthma and Lung Health

Apples seem to have a special ability in supporting lung health. One study showed that children suffering from asthma who drank apple juice each day had less wheezing than those who only drank it once a month.


A study on mice showed that apples may protect the brain cells from the damage that leads to Alzheimer's disease.

Diabetes Management

Apples contain pectin which supplies galacturonic acid to the body. This reduces the need for insulin and thus may help in managing diabetes. Eating an apple as a between meals snack can help to regulate your blood sugar.

Weight Loss

In Brazil a study found that eating three apples or pears each day gave a result of more weight loss when dieting than that obtained by those who did not eat the fruit.

Bone Protection

Apples are the only source of a flavonoid called phloridzin. It may increase bone density and protect post menopausal women from osteoporosis. Apples also contain boron which is also known to strengthen bones.

There could well be other health benefits of eating apples but that is enough on the list for the time being. Different types of apples have differing amounts of the various nutrients, so don't just stick to one variety, enjoy many. Remember that the skin of an apple is a valuable resource, so find ways to use it.

Enjoy your apples and stay well,