An apple a day

Published 12:33 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Diet and Exercise

                Today’s “unsung hero” of nutrition is the apple. The word apple, formerly spelled “aeppel” in Old English, is derived from the Proto-Germanic root “ap(a)laz,” which in effect means “any kind of fruit, in general.” Apples are actually members of the rose family, along with pears, quinces (looks a bit like a pear, with a somewhat sour taste), medlars (tastes like an over ripe date), loquats (loquats taste sweet, yet slightly tart, with hints of citrus), almonds, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, sloes (cousin to the cherry, and extremely tart) and roses. The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian and the Black seas. In fact, Almaty, a city in Kazakhstan, used to be called Alma Ata, which means “father of apples”.

               Apples are very nutritious. As a matter of fact, in 2004, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists investigated 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two types of apples, the “Red Delicious” and  “Granny Smith,” ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Here are some healthful benefits that apples offer.  

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Cancer prevention – Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among other medical investigators, agree that the consumption of “flavanol rich” apples could help reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 23 percent. Also, researchers at Cornell university have identified several components in apple peel that have anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon, and breast. The National Cancer Institute  has recommended high fiber foods like apples (with their peel), to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. 

 Apples are a diabetic friendly fruit –  It’s a misconception that those with diabetes shouldn’t have fruit. Apples’ soluble fiber can actually help slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, to improve blood glucose levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. Another study of folks with type 2 diabetes, published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, found that regularly consuming soluble fiber helped reduce insulin resistance, and improved blood sugar and triglyceride (fat in the blood) levels. Also, it was found that women who eat just one apple a day are 28% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. 

May prevent Alzheimer’s disease –  According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adults age 50 and over who included only a “small” amount of flavonoid- rich foods were 2 to 4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and related types of dementia, compared with those who ate “more” flavonoid-rich foods like apples, berries, and tea. In fact, another study reported that participants who consumed the most flavonoids had a 48 percent lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  

Aids weight loss – The high fiber in apples and their peel can help you feel fuller longer, keeping you more satisfied and less likely to overeat. According to the Lancet Planetary Health Journal, folks who ate the most fiber had a significantly lower body weight. Also, at only 95 calories for a medium apple, this fruit makes for a very satisfying snack when craving sweets.  

Supports a healthy immune system – Soluble fiber in apples actually helps convert specific  cells within the body that were “proinflammatory” into “anti-inflammatory,”  and also help produce immune- supporting cells. A review published in the journal Nutrients, found that the vitamin C in apples also plays a role in helping the immune system function efficiently. 

            Here are a few apple facts you might not know. Humans have enjoyed apples since at least 6,500 BC. There are 7,500 varieties of apples in the world. Apples float, because they are 25% air by volume. Apples are grown in all 50 states. Apple trees can be grown further north than other fruit trees, because they bloom in late spring, minimizing the chance of frost damage. It takes the energy of 50 apple tree leaves to produce just one apple. A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds. A bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds, and can yield 20 to 24 quarts of applesauce.    

Folks continue to sign up for my free nutrition and fitness consultations. You can get on the list by visiting my email address. David Crocker is a nutritionist and master personal trainer. Questions? Email David at dwcrocker77@gmail.com.