Apples have a huge number of health benefits, and many of their numerous life-enhancing nutrients are only starting to be identified by scientists. Some of their most important roles are in digestion and detoxification, and regularly eating apples is also highly beneficial for the heart and circulation.
Eating an apple aids detoxification by helping you feel full sooner and for longer, and can alleviate even chronic constipation, which is a widespread problem then is often caused by poor nutrition. Constipation prevents the body from getting rid of toxins and can lead to more serious conditions, from hemorrhoids to colon cancer.
Apples are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help food progress at a healthy pace through the digestive system. These fibers pick up toxic waste, such as heavy metals, along the way, which is one reason why apples are also good for the arteries. These toxins can then be safely excreted, with the help of the soluble fiber known as pectin. It forms a gel-like substance that softens the body's waste and helps it leave the body naturally. Pectin has a regulating effect on the speed of digestion, slowing it down as well as speeding it up when necessary.
This cleansing effect can also alleviate diarrhea, which removes food from the body too quickly for vital nutrients to be absorbed and can also lead to dangerous levels of dehydration. In natural medicine, apples are valued as a remedy for diarrhea and food poisoning. Grated apples, mixed with honey and left in a bowl until they turn brown, make an effective remedy for diarrhea.
Apples are high in Vitamin C, which is an immune booster, and research shows that apple juice can kill a wide range of viruses. As the sugar in this fruit is mostly fructose, it is broken down slowly by the body and helps maintain blood sugar at a steady level, thus avoiding blood sugar dips and sugar cravings.
The flavonoid quercetin found in apples is anti-inflammatory and can help ease allergic reactions and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and gout. Quercetin is found in high concentrations in the apple peel, and this powerful flavonoid also reduces the risk of sun damage to skin.
heart health - Two apples a day have been found to keep heart disease at bay. Researchers found that for every ten grams of fiber added to the diet, there is a fourteen percent reduction in heart disease. A medium apple contains five grams of fiber.
cancer - A rat study showed that the more apples they ate, the less mammary tumor growth there was in the rats. In a human study of colon cancer cells, flavonoids associated with apples inhibited the growth and spread of cancerous cells.
weight loss - A study from Rio de Janeiro found that overweight women who added three apples a day to their low-fat diet lost more weight than those women who did not add in apples.
Brain Health - A 2005 animal study found that eating apple products may help protect against cellular damage attributed to memory loss. In another animal study, researchers added apple juice concentrate to the diets of mice. This was found to prevent an increase in oxidative damage to brain tissue and decline in cognitive performance.
Tips for Using Apples
If you are going to eat an apple, you should eat every part of it except the core, and ensure that it is organic. Almost half of the Vitamin C content in an apple is just underneath the skin, and over two-thirds of the fiber and almost all of the antioxidants are found in the peel. In a report published by the Environmental Working Group, apples were found to be the fruit with the second highest levels of pesticides, so try to buy organic apples whenever possible.
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