Everyone’s familiar with the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While the origins of the proverb are not exactly clear, it’s a widely known fact that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables reduces the risk factors of numerous diseases and increases the odds of overall good health. But why apples in particular?
Until relatively recently I was never big on apples. I didn’t care for the texture of the Red Delicious variety and Granny Smiths were just too tart. Then, a couple of years ago, Coach Stacy invited me to an impromptu apple tasting that featured sample slices from more than a dozen different apple selections. That was the day I found my “apple groove,” so to speak, and have been starting each day with an apple ever since – mainly because it’s a delicious and satisfying treat – but the health benefits of my daily apple are alluring as well. Here are 10 good reasons for my apple-a-day habit:
- Apples are low in calories, but satisfying. An average, medium sized apple is roughly 80 calories and will stave hunger off for most people for at least two hours.
- Those 80 calories contain no saturated fats, sodium or cholesterol.
- Apples are high in the B-complex vitamins riboflavin, thiamine and pyridoxine which work to stabilize the body’s metabolism.
- Eating an apple before exercise boosts your endurance – hence you’ll be able to work out harder and longer.
- Apples are high in the antioxidant Quercitin which is known to increase the strength of the neuron connections in the brain, thereby decreasing age-related deterioration of mental function. Quercitin also boosts immunity and is a natural antihistamine.
- Apples stimulate the production of saliva, which helps to reduce bacterial levels and tooth decay.
- The fiber in apples helps ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including constipation and diarrhea, as well as abdominal bloating and pain. The fiber can either absorb extra water to slow things down or keep waste moving when your system is backed up.
- Apples are rich in flavonoids and phenolic compounds which help combat the damaging effects of free radicals, and thus protect against various cancers and infectious diseases.
- People who eat apples regularly are significantly less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
- Apples are healthy food for the heart. Their skin helps slow down the buildup of plaque in the arteries, thus lowering the chances of the development of coronary artery disease.
There you have it – 10 good reasons to start an apple-a-day regimen. In fact, don’t stop at one! And be sure to weigh in on the apple poll below and tell us which apple is your favorite.