Are you scared of suffering a stroke? Dreading dementia? Cringing at colorectal cancer? There’s a superhero food that can stand between you and these serious chronic diseases, and that guardian is one delicious powerhouse. Apples! Most of the antioxidants that make apples such a nutrition powerhouse are found in the peel, so make sure that’s a part of your diet. While we love apples cooked in a variety of ways, the cooking process can cost many of the important antioxidants. Make sure you eat some fresh.
Fall is prime time to enjoy the crunchy treat in pies, muffins and chips, and it’s also a moment to reflect on the health benefits provided by apples. Apples can help safeguard you against diseases that take millions of lives every year. Here’s how science breaks it down.
More than any other fruit, apples helped reduce the risk of colorectal cancer when study participants ate one or more servings daily, according to several Italian studies. It’s not just the fight against colorectal cancer where eating apples can make a significant impact. Other studies found apples helpful in preventing lung and prostate cancer.
Reducing their risk of dementia by 30 percent to 35 percent was the reward when healthy older adults took part in a study that required them to follow the Mediterranean or MIND diets. Their cognitive function improved the longer they followed the diets. Both diets rely on fresh fruits and vegetables.
High fiber and a flavonoid called quercetin were found to be at the heart of apples and pears cutting the risk of stroke by 52 percent in a Dutch study. Their high fiber content also helped lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol in another study conducted by Florida State University. Also, the Women’s Health Study found that women who ate apples had up to a 22 percent reduced risk of heart disease over the span of the seven-year study.
Type 2 Diabetes
One study found apples lowered risk of type 2 diabetes by 28 percent, while another review found apples (along with blueberries and grapes) cut the risk of diabetes by 23 percent. The first study compared more than 38,000 healthy women who ate at least one apple a day to those who did not eat apples. The second number comes from a review of three studies of more than 187,000 who ate at least two servings a week compared to people who had one serving or less a month.
Eating apple slices at the beginning of a meal helped people consume an average of 200 fewer calories compared to those who skipped the apple slices, according to a study. People who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller and more satisfied than people who consumed apple juice, applesauce or no apples at all.
If you want to lose weight, pick Granny Smith apples. Compared to McIntosh, Golden Delicious and other common varieties, Granny Smiths have fewer carbs and more nondigestible compounds such as fibers that will make you feel full.
Read More: Heart-Healthy Apple Recipes