If you’re lucky, you will soon be walking to your backyard apple tree and picking off a delicious local apple, just in time for the Fall and Winter seasons. Nothing summarizes the feeling of the Autumn and coming holidays quite like apples. Whether in a pie, dipped in caramel, or slathered with peanut butter, this superfood gives us feelings of comfort, and joy. Read on to find out how it delivers the same health benefits to your body!
There is more than just a little credence to the “apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away” dictum. It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are superfoods capable of staving off the most serious of illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic ailment. As a superfood, the apple’s abundance of phytochemicals, including phenolics, flavonoids and carotenoids, play a central role in lowering the risk for chronic diseases.
Like most superfoods, the apple is full of phytochemicals. It also contains quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid – all potent antioxidants. There are a variety of apples and their phytochemical content changes from one to the other. While storing them has little effect, commerical processing can negatively affect the health benefits of apples.
A study conducted at The Ohio State University observed 51 healthy individuals between the ages of 40 and 60, splitting them into three groups. One group ate one apple per day for 4 weeks; another took an antioxidant supplement extracted from apples; the third took a placebo.
After four weeks, the health benefits of apples were obvious for those who ate a full apple once per day. They reduced blood oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol by 40% compared to those who took a placebo. Those who took the supplement also witnessed lower levels of LDL cholesterol, but not as markedly as those who ate apples. High levels of LDL cholesterol can be a strong predictor of coronary heart disease in some people. It has also been shown that the intake of whole apples is more beneficial for the heart than clear apple juice.
In another study, it was found that the apple peel has antiproliferative effects against cancer. Apple flavonoids can inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells, which makes the fruit an effective way to avoid cancer.
Aside from internal health benefits of apples, the superfood is also good for skin health and protecting against sun damage. In the Fall and Winter, we often forget that we are at risk of sun damage. Just because it is cold does not mean the sun stops sending harmful UV rays to your skin.
Eat apples for their taste, but appreciate them as a superfood even more knowing the nutritional boost they are giving your body. Want to get creative? Indulge in these Autumn apple recipes.
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Image Credit: Fotografeleen