Is it true that eating an apple every day will prevent disease?
The proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” first appeared in Pembrokeshire, Wales, around 1866. To prevent physicians from making money, the adage originally recommended eating an apple before going to bed, or bread, as indicated in the proverb. Before it became the term we know today, it underwent a handful of phrasing adjustments in 1922.
Is there any truth to this? In 2015, research examined 8,000 patients and compared how frequently they saw their doctor, what medications they used, and how many nights they were in the hospital. This data was then compared between persons who regularly ate apples and those who did not. The study's findings revealed that participants who ate one apple per day were on less medicine and saw their doctor less frequently.
However, while this study is intriguing, it has a few flaws. To begin with, people who consume fruit on a daily basis are more inclined to eat other fruits and vegetables, which is beneficial to their health. Furthermore, the fact that 85% of them regarded themselves as fit and healthy, with 64% not smoking, implies that they are likely to take care of their health in other ways.
Let's have a look at why apples are healthy and why we should eat them every day. To begin with, there are supposedly thirty thousand distinct types of apples, so perhaps you can pick at least one that tastes well to you. They range from crisp, crunchy green apples like Granny Smith to softer, sweeter apples like Gala and Pink Lady, as well as everything in between including Braeburn, Golden or Red Delicious, and Coxes. One of the finest aspects about apples is their versatility. You may eat them raw as whole fruit, mix them into pies, crumbles, cakes, muffins, smoothies, prepare apple sauce for fatty meat, or grate them over porridge and muesli.
Apples are low in calories, fat, and high in pectin, a kind of fibre. More to come on that later! They also have vitamins C, B1, B6, E, and K, as well as copper, potassium, magnesium, and a variety of other vitamins and minerals in trace levels. They also include phytonutrients derived from plants such as quercetin, phloridzin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid. They are potent anti-oxidants, which battle oxidation in the body, which causes cell and tissue damage and inflammation. It is critical to keep inflammation under control since it is the root cause of many life-threatening disorders. It is worth noting that many nutrients are found in the skin of apples and are lost when they are peeled. Having said that, many apples are sprayed with pesticides as they develop, so it is best to properly wash the fruits with vinegar or baking soda in water and wipe them clean. Fortunately, many apples are protected by a natural covering of wax, which prevents pesticides from being absorbed into the fruit. You may also buy organic kinds or cultivate your own.
Apples supply a considerable amount of our needed daily dietary fibre intake, which is one of its many advantages. Humans require both soluble and insoluble fibre, and apples provide both. Soluble fibre is necessary for digesting, bulking up faeces, and keeping them moving through the stomach. Insoluble fibre is also required to maintain the health of our gut microbes. They prefer to eat it and then create enzymes to aid with digestion. Pectin, an apple fibre, boosts the number of firmicutes and bacteriodetes, essential and healthy gut bacteria. Obesity risk is found to be lowered when these bacteria are present in appropriate quantities. Pectin also helps to keep the mucus that coats the stomach in place. This is critical for protecting the gut lining by acting as a natural barrier and keeping the gut lining sealed so that toxins do not enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation. This helps to maintain the stomach lining healthy and operating properly.
If you're on a diet, apples are ideal. We've previously established that they're low in calories, with a small apple containing 77 calories and a large apple containing less than 100. They do, however, suppress appetite by making us feel full. This is due to the fact that they are 86% water and contain 14% of our daily fibre. This means they take a long time to break down in the gut, keeping us fuller for longer. This means we're less likely to snack on junk food in between meals. Heating, juicing, or processing apples in a smoothie maker breaks down the fibre, therefore, eating the apple as nature intended is healthier for your gut health and satiety.
Apple pectin and other healthy chemicals in these fruits have been demonstrated to help decrease cholesterol. The combination of soluble fibre and beneficial chemicals, particularly the flavonoid epicatechin, can aid in blood pressure reduction. Maintaining good cholesterol and blood pressure levels is critical for heart health and disease prevention.
Apple peel includes a significant concentration of useful chemicals, as previously stated. Certain substances, particularly anti-oxidants, have been found to decrease cancer cell development and spread. Laboratory testing revealed this particularly applies to the liver and large intestine cancer cells. This is because of the perfect combination of helpful chemicals. In fact, apples have been demonstrated to be the third most beneficial fruit to cancer cells out of twelve. Only cranberries and lemons outperformed them.
If you don't like apples and don't want to eat them daily, research reveals that eating one a week can reduce your chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes by 3%. Would you like to lower the risk further? Eating an apple every day raises that amount to 18%, especially if pears are consumed on a regular basis. This is due, once again, to the anti-oxidants and flavonoids found in apples (and pears). The exact ones in this scenario are phloridzin and quercetin. Quercetin is also anti-inflammatory and improves insulin sensitivity, which means that cells can use blood sugar for energy. The flavonoid phloridzin enhances sugar absorption from the blood.
As you can see, apples are high in nutrients that benefit our health in various ways. Therefore, while an apple a day may not keep the doctor away, it may keep cancer, heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes at bay. Eating an apple every day is an excellent way to preserve your health if you have a family history of any of these diseases.
- History behind ‘An apple a day’ https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/history-behind-an-apple-a-day/2013/09/24/aac3e79c-1f0e-11e3-94a2-6c66b668ea55_story.html
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- How Much Fiber Is There in a Small Apple? https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-fiber-there-small-apple-5519.html
- 10 water-rich foods to help you stay hydrated https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/ten-water-rich-foods-hydration
- Processing Apples to Puree or Juice Speeds Gastric Emptying and Reduces Postprandial Intestinal Volumes and Satiety in Healthy Adults https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/index.php/preview/4611790/Krishnasamy_%202020%20finalaccepted%20pdf%20JN-2019-1474_R3.pdf
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- Apple and pear consumption and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yPNz–TZDNu42d2sjtSXTrszn9B1lsWS/view
- Modulation of Chronic Inflammation by Quercetin: The Beneficial Effects on Obesity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425105/
- Dietary intake of phloridzin from natural occurrence in foods https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/5EE906E141951B07640B98C2A895B7BF/S0007114520000033a.pdf/dietary-intake-of-phloridzin-from-natural-occurrence-in-foods.pdf