Of course you are familiar with the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," but did you know that has only been a popular phrase since 1922? More than 150 years ago the adage was "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread," in Wales. So much for supporting your local doctor!
As it turns out, the proverbs are substantial. There are many reasons to include at least one apple a day in your food intake. Here are 10 science-backed health benefits that will have you wanting to go apple picking, stat:
1. Lower cholesterol
Apples are rich in pectin fiber and active polyphenols (similar benefits to red wine) and lower blood cholesterol levels. In one interesting study, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind!) decreased by 7 percent in four weeks for study participants who were eating whole apples or pomace, or drinking cloudy juice, but rose the same amount when clear apple juice was substituted. This suggests that the fiber of apples is correlated to their cholesterol-lowering effects.
2. Decreased blood pressure
Apples were studied in comparison to spinach in terms of boosting artery health. This study showed that both apples and spinach improved artery health and lowered systolic blood pressure to similar degrees. One was not better than the other, nor did they have additive effects.
3. Lower diabetes risk
In a comprehensive study of fruit consumption and the risk of type-2 diabetes, only dark berries and apples actually lowered the risk of developing adult, type-2 diabetes.
4. Less artery aging
In a study comparing artery calcium, which can eventually lead to heart disease, and diet, apples were associated with less aging of arteries.
5. Lower risk of lung cancer
Data show that higher apple consumption is associated with a lower risk of lung cancer. It's only suggestive for some other common cancers.
6. Healthier microbiome
A recent review indicated that apples bypass the small intestine to provide fiber and nutrients to the colon that may favor a healthier bacterial makeup. Essentially, the fiber in apples is an excellent prebiotic.
7. Less inflammation
8. Lower rates of infantile eczema
Mothers who consume more vegetables and apples during pregnancy may have children with lower rates of eczema, according to this study.
9. Improve erectile dysfunction
A hard and crunchy apple, along with veggies, may be helpful in finding a healthy erection in men with ED, according to research on diabetics.
10. Fewer problems with asthma
Apples are rich in quercetin, which lowers inflammation and may result in fewer issues with asthma and allergies.
It's finally peak season to visit an apple orchard and pick-your-own favorite variety of apples! This is a fun activity that combines exercise with harvesting a super healthy food. One thing to remember before you go: pesticides. Picking or buying organic apples will help avoid the typical high concentrations of pesticides used by commercial farms. Although it's possible to wash pesticides off of conventional produce, it takes considerable time and effort to fully remove them.
But do not hold back, an apple is truly a superfood to add to your diet daily just as the adage advises.