We all know that old saying: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
But have you ever wondered why that is? How can one apple a day bring about significant health benefits? If you have, then you'll be glad to read this article. From strengthening the immune system, to preventing cancerous growths and losing weight, say hello to your apple a day!
How do apples help us?
Important research published in 2008 by the German cancer research center showed that apples offer a significant health advantage. Those that ate one or more apples each day were shown to be healthier than those in the control group that ate no apples at all. They were found to have less risk of mouth cancer, larynx cancer, breast cancer, intestinal cancer, kidney cancer and ovarian cancer.
These findings corroborate new research conducted at Cornell University, which showed that apple peel has strong antioxidant properties. These properties mean that apple peel is a powerful inhibitor of breast cancer cells. Researchers found that the higher the concentration of apples, the lower the concentration of cancerous cells.
Cancerous growths are uncontrollable cell growths that independently spread throughout the body. The growths are based on three principle levels: The first stage causes mutations in cell DNA. The second, when the growth becomes malignant and grows faster, and finally when it metastasizes and spreads throughout the body.
In the event of a cancerous growth, apples aren't only used as antioxidants - they also improve immune system function, which helps clean out the growths in their early stages.
In addition to boosting the immune system and fighting cancerous growths, apples also help control the levels of cholesterol and sugar in the blood, prevent heart disease and improve mouth hygiene. The fact that they contain more than 80% water and a long line of essential vitamins, makes them one of the healthiest foods available.
The secret? Nutritional Fiber
Apples are considered a vital source of nutritional fiber. Eating one apple a day (with peel) can award us about 4.4 grams of nutritional fiber, which is a fifth of our recommended daily amount.
Nutritional fibers are nutrients found in foods that come from plants, and have a very important role in stimulating digestive system function. Since they are not digested and taken apart in the body, they sate our hunger for a longer period of time. Extensive research has shown that those that do not get their recommended daily amount (at least 25 grams a day), deny themselves a host of health benefits. In addition, the researchers found that consuming these fibers is quite an effective method of losing weight.
The secret is in the chewing. Drinking apple juice will not give you the same health benefits as eating an apple will. A study conducted in China found that chewing can help the body regulate the amount of calories it absorbs from food.
What does this have to do with apples?
Everything. Apples are a terrific source of nutritional fiber, especially a group of fibers called Pectin. This is a group of complex carbohydrates that regulates our bowels, improves good cholesterol and has powerful antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Researchers from UCLA have shown that consuming pectin instead of regular fiber doubles the time it takes the stomach to empty from one hour to two, meaning that we don't feel hungry for a longer time. In fact, a recent research paper titled: "Weight Loss Associated with a Daily Intake of Three Apples or Three Pears among Overweight Women", showed that women who were overweight and were instructed to eat an apple or pear before each meal lost significant weight just by doing so. The women in the experiment were asked to eat regularly and just add the apple before the meal. What happened was that the apples and fibers crowded the stomach, increased the feeling of being full, and made the body absorb less calories.
Other sources of nutritional fiber are: pears, peaches, peas, carrots, seeds, nuts, peel of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, oats and whole wheat. But apples offer many more advantages.
So if you want to:
Lose weight, eat one apple a day.
Strengthen your immune system, eat one apple a day.
Control the level of cholesterol, eat one apple a day.
Prevent the spread of cancerous cells, eat one apple a day!