Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away? For thousands of years, many cultures have valued apples for their medicinal properties. Now, modern-day research has confirmed many health benefits associated with apples. In fact, there are hundreds of published papers showing why apples are a true superfruit.

Here are 5 reasons to enjoy an apple (or two!) today:

1. They’re Nature’s Perfect Snack. A large apple is the perfect portion-controlled portable pick, with 115 calories and 5 grams of filling fiber. It’s a good source of vitamin C and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol. Though not all apples are nutritional twins, they’re all a natural source of health-promoting phytonutrients, including plant-based antioxidants.

Leave the skin on and you’ll score even more nutrition perks; the skin is where two-thirds of the fiber and beneficial antioxidants are found. What’s more, they’re not just for snacking. They’re ideal for sauces, entrees and desserts. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in this Apple Pear Crisp.

2. They May Cut Your Cancer Risk. Studies show that apples may provide protection against certain types of cancer. Peer-reviewed research indicates that apples may reduce the risk for oral, esophageal, larynx, lung, colon, breast, ovary and prostate cancers.

3. They Can Help Whittle Your Middle. Enjoy an apple or two a day and you might just avoid an apple shape (where extra weight settles in the abdomen). That’s because apples contain filling soluble fiber and ursolic acid, a natural compound that has been found to boost fat-burning. Researchers from the University of Rio de Janeiro found that women who added three apples per day to their diet lost more than two pounds in 10 weeks – a greater loss than dieters who didn’t add apples.

4. They’ll Boost Your Brain. Apples are natural brain boosters. Researchers from Cornell University found that nutrients in apples may protect brain neurons against oxidative damage, which contributes to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Scientists believe that a particular apple compound called quercetin may be responsible for this protective effect. Another study of people with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease revealed that enjoying 8 ounces of apple juice daily resulted in a 27% improvement in mood and behavioral symptoms.

5. They’ll Help You Breathe Easier. The antioxidants in apples may help protect the lungs against the oxidative damage that’s associated with asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. In one study, women who reported eating apples during pregnancy reduced the risk of asthma and wheezing in their child at age five.

Source : WebMD.com  Author: Katherine Brooking, MS, RD


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