By Gerene Schendel
There is something to the adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. How more perfect can a food get? It comes in a convenient serving size, with very little calories and even has its own wrapper. Possibly one of the reasons the teachers of yesteryear stayed so healthy when school children all brought apples to adorn the desk.
Apples have been cited for reducing the risk of heart disease. They also have proved in lab tests to be beneficial in stopping the growth of cancer cells. Most of the apples healing power resides in the apples skin, a compound called quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that can prevent oxygen molecules from damaging individual cells. Over time this antioxidant helps to prevent changes in cells that can lead to cancer.
Apples are probably best known for their sources of two fibers. They contain soluble and insoluble fiber as well as pectin. Insoluble fiber is mostly found in the skin of the apple it was referred to as roughage and has been reputed to relieve constipation. Comfort aside, studies indicate that keeping your digestive tract running smoothly can help prevent diverticulosis, a condition that forms pouches in the large intestine and also can contribute to colon cancer. Because insoluble fiber is filling, apples can help keep your weight in check, without feeling hungry.
The soluble fiber that apples contain passes through the digestive tract more slowly and forms a gel like material that helps lower cholesterol and in turn the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that is used to to thicken jams and jellies. It also generates a gel that slows down digestion which slows the rise of blood sugar- and is good for anyone suffering with diabetes. Pectin is hailed to reduce the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver, important defenses that protect you by eating this simple fruit. A 5 ounce apple has roughly 3 grams of fiber and 0.7 grams of pectin.
According to Marie Ellen Camire, Ph.D. an associate professor and chair of the Department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine in Orono, ” Some varieties of apples, like Granny Smith are bred to be low in certain protective compounds that make apples brown when you peel them.” The most health benefits are gained by eating these varieties.
In the U.S. alone there are about 2500 kinds of apples. Whether for cooking or baking or just a grab and go snack, they are great protection against disease.
Gerene Schendel believes that food has the ability to keep us healthy and treat disease. She also believes in following your bliss. www.mytastefultreats.com
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