There's no easier way to add a dose of nutrition to your day than by crunching on a tasty apple. Grown throughout the world, apples are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They're fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium. In short, eating apples is a smart part of a healthy lifestyle.
5 Ways apples keep you healthy
1. Regulates your day.
Whether your problem is visiting the bathroom too often or not often enough, apples can help.
Just one apple with its skin contains 4 to 5 grams of fiber - the most important nutrient in keeping your bowels working like a well-oiled machine. Keeping yourself regular without relying on harmful laxatives could be as easy as replacing that afternoon snack of potato chips or cookies with a crisp, delicious apple. And think of the calories you'll save. The average apple has about 80 calories while a serving of chips weighs in at 150 calories and you'll get about 200 from just a few cookies.
But that's not all apples can do. They're also good for diarrhea, thanks to an ingredient called pectin. This carbohydrate has a congealing effect in your intestines that helps firm things up and return you to normal. Applesauce is actually the best apple product for diarrhea, since it's made without the high.-fiber skin. But watch out for extra sugar. Some brands of applesauce dump a truckload of sweeteners into an otherwise healthy food, and too much refined sugar could make your diarrhea worse.
2. Keep your body young.
Antioxidants can protect you from many of the diseases that seem to be a part of aging. In fact, so many people are taking supplements for antioxidant protection that it's become a multibillion-dollar industry. But the evidence is mounting that whole foods can do more for you than pills.
When scientists compared a 1,500-milligram vitamin C supplement to one small apple, the results were astounding - the antioxidant values were equal. That means a fresh apple has more than 15 times the antioxidant power of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. The researchers also found an ordinary apple was able to stop the growth of colon and liver cancer cells in test tubes. Unpeeled apples were especially effective. The question you need to ask yourself: Why waste money on flavourless supplements when you can get better antioxidant firepower from a sweet, crunchy fruit?
3. Helps reduce risk of heart disease.
Cuts your risk of heart disease. Sometimes it's hard to remember which food is good for which part of your body. The next time you pick up an apple, examine it carefully. It's shaped a bit like a heart - and that should help you remember apples are good for your heart.
It's the magnesium and potassium in apples that help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it's the flavonoid quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood flowing smoothly.
4. Strikes at the heart of strokes.
Apples are even a smart choice for helping avoid strokes. Scientists aren't sure which ingredient in this multi-talented fruit to credit, but the connection is clear - people who regularly eat apples are less likely to have strokes than people who don't.
5. Protect your joints.
In areas of the world where fruits and vegetables make up a large part of the diet, very few people get arthritis. Compare this to modernized countries where fruits and vegetables have been replaced with fast, processed food and you'll find up to 70 percent of the population suffers from some form of arthritis. Just a coincidence? Not according to nutrition experts. They link this trend in part to boron, a trace mineral many plants, including apples, absorb from the soil.
If you eat like most people, you'll get about 1 to 2 milligrams (mg) of boron a day, mostly from non-citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, and nuts. Experts believe, however, you need anywhere from 3 to 10 mg a day to affect your risk of arthritis. To boost your boron intake to this level, you'd have to eat more than nine apples a day.
This is probably an unreasonable amount for most people, but don't despair. Pair an apple with other boron-rich foods like a few tablespoons of peanut butter and a large handful of raisins, and you'll not only have a delicious afternoon snack, but you'll make your joint-saving quota of boron at the same time.
Buy apples that are unbruised, firm, and have good colour. Take them out of their plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator - loose in the produce bin or in a paper bag is best. And since they will absorb odours, keep them away from strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions.
Use this super simple salad recipe to add more apples to your day!