In 2004, USDA scientists decided to find out the antioxidant concentration per serving in over 100 foods. Antioxidants are natural disease-fighting compounds found in foods and scientists believe that these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. In the study, two types of apples, Red Delicious and Granny Smith, ranked 12th and 13th respectively with the level of antioxidants. They also found that apples are packed with a fibre called pectin – a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre (a combination that provides the body with a wealth of health benefits). In fact, a medium- sized apple contains about 4 grams of fiber.
Here are 7 health benefits of apples and how they can help fend off illness and disease.
1. Apples fight Alzheimer’s: It was discovered that apples contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that protects brain cells from degeneration. However, it is recommended that in order to gain maximum, disease-fighting compounds, apples should be consumed with the skin on.
2. They protect against Parkinson’s: According to research, people who stock up on fruits and other high-fiber foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s. It is essentially a disease that is caused by a breakdown of the brain cells responsible for producing a substance known as dopamine. It is, however, unclear as to why apples seem to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Scientists believe that it is due to their pectin/fiber content.
3. Apples reduce your risk of diabetes. This is perhaps, one of the most recognized benefits of apples.
In one study, they found that women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type II diabetes, than those who didn’t. It was discovered that apples are loaded with soluble fiber, which slows the digestion of food and the entry of glucose into the bloodstream.
4. They help fight cholesterol. The fiber pectin found in apples also helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Scientific evidence has also found that the fiber in apples binds with unhealthy fats present in the intestines, consequently leading to the efficient elimination of these harmful fats.
5. Apples promote a healthy heart: As previously mentioned, high soluble fiber intake, slows the build-up of cholesterol-rich plaque in the arteries which, if left untreated reduces blood flow to the heart, leading to coronary artery disease. The skin found on apples, contains a phenolic compound which also prevents cholesterol from solidifying in your artery walls. Its skin is also rich in flavanoids and antioxidants which helps prevent heart disease.
6. They prevent gallstones: Apples effectively help prevent the formation of gallstones which are essentially solid chunks of cholesterol that form due to too much cholesterol in the bile. The remedy for gallstones is a diet high in fiber – making apples a perfect cure!
7. Apples help detoxify the liver: One of the jobs of the liver is to remove toxins from the body.
Detoxifying is one of the best ways to jump start your liver which may be done by eating an abundance of fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants. Apples, in this regard, are an ideal fruit to include to your daily routine.