By Melodie Veldhuizen
As children we are encouraged to eat apples, as an apple a day is said to keep the doctor away. But do you know how many health benefits there actually are hidden in this fruit?
- Healthier teeth and gums
Apples cannot replace your toothbrush, but they contain malic acid which stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth. Saliva restricts the formation of bacteria, in this way limiting tooth decay. The water and fibre also serve as cleaning agents. The vitamins and minerals promote healthier teeth and the fibrous texture contributes to healthy gums.
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral ageing
Research indicates that apple juice combats Alzheimer’s disease as well as cerebral ageing. Apple juice helps to preserve acetyl choline, a nerve conveyer that disappears with age. The acetyl choline assists in effecting stronger communication between the nerve cells and the brain, which improves your memory and lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It should however be pure home-made apple juice.
- Counteracts different types of cancer
The benefits of apples in lowering the risk of different types of cancer have been confirmed by various research results. The American Association for Cancer Research has found that the flavanol in apples can help to decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23 percent. Researchers at the Cornell University identified some compounds in apple peel that could possibly prevent the growth of cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. The National Cancer Institute in the United States found that a high fibre intake (such as in apples) can decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Decreases the risk of diabetes
The large amount of pectin (soluble fibre) in apples helps to normalise blood sugar fluctuations. The fructose and the antioxidant polyphenol improve the metabolic balance and slow down the tempo against which sugar is absorbed by the body.
- Lowers cholesterol
Pectin, the soluble fibre, as well as the antioxidant polyphenol in apples combine with fats in the intestines, which helps to decrease unhealthy cholesterol levels (LDL – low-density lipoprotein) – and lower the oxidation thereof. It also helps to decrease the risk of hardening of the arteries and damage to the hart muscles and blood vessels.
- Helps prevent cardiac diseases
Cholesterol in the arteries decreases blood flow to the heart, resulting in coronary hart diseases. The high fibre content of apples prevents the build-up of a cholesterol layer on the inside walls of the arteries. The phenol compound in the apple peel also prevent cholesterol that does penetrate your system from hardening the inside walls of the arteries. The polyphenol in apples is linked to low blood pressure, which decreases the risk of a stroke.
- Alleviates diarrhoea and constipation and neutralises irritable bowl syndrome (IBS)
The high concentration of pectin fibre promotes digestion. This appears to be a contradiction, but, depending on the body’s needs, it offers relief from diarrhoea and constipation. In addition, IBS is characterised by constipation, diarrhoea, stomach pain and flatulence, which are all alleviated by the fibre in apples.
- Helps with weight control
Many health problems, such as cardiac diseases, strokes, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea, are related to overweight. Doctors recommend a fibre-rich diet for weigh control and general health. Apples are ideal because the high fibre and water content quickly make you feel satiated, lasting for a long time. Pectin delays the absorption of excess fats in the body.
- It is nutritious
One medium size apple contains a wide variety of nutrients, each with its own health benefits: manganese, copper, vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2 and B6, as well as K. It is furthermore rich in fibre, potassium, carbohydrates, fibre and polyphenol.
- Prebiotic features that promote good intestinal bacteria
The pectin (a type of fibre) in apples serve as a prebiotic. Prebiotics promote the growth of good bacteria/micro-organisms in the intestines and maintain a healthy digestive canal.
- Helps combat asthma
Apples contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory combinations that regulate immune responses and prevent asthma.
- Promotes bone health
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory combinations promote bone density. The flavonoid phlorizin in apple peel can prevent bone loss related to menopause, as it combats inflammation that leads to bone degeneration.
- Helps with digestion
The soluble fibre pectin extracts water from the digestive tract and forms a gel which causes you to feel satiated for longer. The malic acid helps with digestion.
Best Health. https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/health-benefits-appels/
NDTV Food. https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/apple-fruit-benefits-8-incredible-health-benefits-of-apple-that-you-may-not-have-known-1761603#:~:text=High%20in%20pectin%20fibre%20appels,healthy%20bones%2C%20teeth%20and%20skin.