Apples

 

By: Crissie Mergogey

Red, green, or golden? No matter your apple preference, this common fruit deserves more praise than it gets.

This crisp, juicy fruit can help improve immunity, regulate digestion, lower high cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure and help prevent cancer (among other diseases).

It should be obvious why the apple is one of the most popular fruits in the world!

In 2018, the USDA estimated that 11.4 billion pounds of apples were grown in the United States alone.

Apples can be eaten fresh as a snack, chopped into salads, cooked into oatmeal or used in sweet desserts. 

No matter how you decide to enjoy this beneficial super-fruit, make sure to keep the skin intact to reap the most rewards. 

Fiber is the hero here.

Apples are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber.  The skin contains most of the insoluble fiber, while the flesh holds the soluble fiber.

Both types of fiber provide significant health benefits.

During digestion, soluble fiber becomes gel-like and binds to cholesterol. 

Instead of entering the blood stream, cholesterol exits the body via a bowel movement. 

This special fiber also slows digestion, which keeps you feeling full longer and can support weight loss. 

Insoluble fiber does not change during digestion, which allows it to physically push food, excess hormones and toxins out of the body. 

Inadequate amounts of insoluble fiber in the diet leads to constipation, bloating, and irregularity.

Fiber is not the only champion when it comes to apples, it’s loaded with antioxidants too.

One antioxidant that is particularly high in apples, called quercetin, has been associated with decreased risk of lung cancer, according to a study by Finland’s National Public Health Institute involving 10,000 people. 

Antioxidants found in apples also help protect blood vessels and other organs from oxidative damage, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues. 

Minimizing oxidative damage to the pancreas can help to lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a long-term Women’s Health Study. 

This study found that women who ate apples had a 28 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat apples. 

Not only can an apple’s antioxidants help reduce the chance of life-threatening diseases, but also the risk of catching a common cold or flu. 

The disease-fighting compounds in apples reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system.

Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she made apple season arrive right before cold and flu season!

Apples originated from the mountains of Central Asia and there are now 7,500 varieties in the world, ranging in color from green to red and some can grow to the size of a grapefruit!

Most apples in the United States are grown in the state of Washington, with the Gala variety winning the popularity contest. 

All apples are a good source of potassium, manganese, copper, vitamins A, C, K and several B-vitamins.

These nutrients play crucial roles in metabolism, immunity and bone strength.

Apples are widely available, affordable and loaded with disease-fighting nutrition. 

So, enjoy an apple (or two) a day, and keep the doctor away!

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