Apple Stock up on the super fruit


Can an apple a day keep the doctor away? Well, the apple is indeed a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. Its consumption has been associated with the reduced risk of cancer particularly lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, asthma and type 2 diabetes. There are 7,000 varieties of apple and all have varying contents of vitamin C and vitamin E-powerful antioxidants that boost immunity and slow ageing.
A crucial element in apples is pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol, bind toxic metals such as mercury and lead, and excrete them out of the body. Cooked apples help relieve diarrhea, dysentery and colitis. One large apple a day has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels by 8 to 11 percent. Pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body’s need for insulin and helps manage diabetes. Pectin’s gelling property helps in making apple jams and jellies.
Apples and apple juice are rich in phytochemicals (plant chemicals) including flavanoids and polyphenols. Polyphenols such as tannins (tannic acid) are potent enemies of viruses like the herpes simplex virus that causes blisters on the skin and sores around the mouth or genitals. Tannins have anti-oxidant properties, which help in cancer prevention. A recent study reported that the risk of colorectal cancer was reduced by about 50 percent on intake of more than one apple a day. Tannins are also astringent, which may be why cooked apples help in diarrhea management.
Quercetin, a flavanoid present in high concentration in apples, has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, cholesterol-lowering and anti-cancer properties. A recent study reported that combined apple pectin and polyphenols lowered cholesterol and triglycerides by a much greater extent than either apple pectin or polyphenols.
Two polyphenols — phloridzin and phloretin xyloglucoside — in apples have, till date, not been found in any other fruit. Not only are apples exceptionally rich in phenols, they also have the highest concentration of “free phenols,” which means they are more available for absorption into the blood stream. The antioxidant capacity of one apple is equivalent to about 1,500 mg of vitamin C (although one apple has only about five mg of vitamin C).
Apple peels have more antioxidant compounds, especially polyphenols and vitamin C, than the flesh. A peel provides two to six times (depending on the variety) more phenolic compounds than the flesh, and about two to three times more flavanoids.
It has also been reported that people with the highest consumption of apples had a lower risk of thrombotic stoke compared to the ones with the lowest consumption. Apple consumption has been inversely linked with asthma and has also been positively associated with pulmonary health.
Apart from being rich in nutrients, they are also a great bonus for weight watchers and diabetics. With a low glycemic index (which means the carbohydrates break down slowly and release glucose gradually into the blood), apples dampen appetite, keep you going for longer, are low in calories and help maintain blood sugar levels.
Apple cider vinegar, made by fermenting apple juice, has been used by naturopaths for curing hyper acidity, asthma, arthritis, sinusitis and improving absorption of nutrients like calcium.
Malic and tartaric acid present in the apple regulate stomach acidity and help in digestion of protein and fat. Concentration of malic acid in apples is especially high, which accounts for it often being called “apple acid.” Because of its role in cellular energy production, malic acid may help individuals suffering from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia (muscle and connective tissue pain).
No doubt, apples with their high antioxidant properties, fiber content, low glycemic index and hytochemicals, have been recognized as super foods.

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