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07 Dec 2021

Healthy Living: Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?

Healthy Living:  Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?

Apples are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, all of which benefit health

Apples are probably the most popular fruits – especially this time of the year, whether eaten raw or incorporated into wholesome desserts.
They are extremely healthy, no wonder we have a saying – an apple a day keeps the doctor away… Studies have linked regular consumption with lower risk of many diseases.
The red eating apples contain many antioxidants in their skin. Antioxidants lower the risk of cell damage which can lead to premature ageing and DNA mutations, tumour formation. One of these polyphenol antioxidants is a flavonoid called epicatechin, which may reduce inflammation in our cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure. One study found that women after menopause who ate apples regularly reduced the LDL – the so-called bad cholesterol by 23% and increased the good one by 4%. An analysis of studies found that high intakes of flavonoids were linked to a 20% lower risk of stroke.
The flavonoids may also help to protect the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas, which make them helpful for diabetics. In fact, in one large study, eating an apple a day was linked to a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to not eating any apples. Even eating just a few apples a week had a similarly protective effect.
One of the antioxidants, called Quercetin in red apples, has a similar action to antihistamines, therefore beneficial in reducing allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Quercetin is also neuroprotective; one study has found eating apples daily could have an important role in reducing the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
One of the best effects apples have is increasing the diversity of our beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Their Pectin content – which tends to be richer in Bramley apples, feed the probiotics and help them produce short chain fatty acids, which in turn regulate our immune system and have many beneficial effects all over the body, including the brain. Chlorogenic acid and catechin are two more compounds that also help to heal the lining of the intestines – especially important in patients taking pain killer medications for an extended period that might harm the stomach lining.
So there are plenty of reasons to incorporate apples in your daily diet:
Stew eating apples or Bramleys with some honey – add cloves and cinnamon and top with live yoghurt and walnuts. Snack on fresh red apples with a handful of raw nuts.
Slice apples and smear them with your favourite nut butter for a tasty, satisfying snack.
Make apple and berry crumble with lots of walnuts and oats in the crumble part – use Xylitol, Stevia, or Erythritol for sweetening! Enjoy one or two apples daily to keep that doctor away.

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