An Apple A Day

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“An apple a day will keep the doctor away”, but did you know it can also aid with weight loss, improve your skin and help your breathing, among other things?

While the age-old expression, purportedly originating from an old Welsh proverb, probably wasn’t based on any real scientific evidence, here are some of the lesser-known but equally important benefits of the delicious and versatile apple

Super-satiating apples are low in calories, contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol, and are a rich source of fibre (a medium size apple with the skin has a whopping 4.4 grams of dietary fibre) – making them the perfect waist-line friendly food!

To get the most nutrition, fibre and antioxidants, eat your apple with the skin on.  Apples are a rich source of anti-oxidants – with the peel itself being a higher source than the flesh, as well as it containing the bulk (around two-thirds) of the apple’s fibre – so think twice before you peel your next apple!

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Applesauce is another great way to pack in the “apple nutrients” – especially while introducing them early on to kids, as young children may find it difficult to chew a whole hard fruit.  Apples and applesauce are far better than apple juice, since the whole fruit (whether raw, cooked or baked) contains all the fibre that juice lacks – meaning it gets turned straight into simple sugars, spiking both insulin and blood sugar levels… not a good thing!

But that’s just the beginning… here are some more health benefits of the humble yet marvelous apple:

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Live longer
After examining the diets of 10,000 people, research in Finland showed that eating apples – specifically flavonoids (a natural compound found in apples) – was one of the best predictors of longevity!

Anti-oxidant superfood
When it comes to the total anti-oxidant content of commonly eaten fruit, apples take second place – beaten only by cranberries!  They’re also second in the amount of phenolic compounds (another health-promoting component of fruit) – however those from apples are actually best absorbed by the body!

Anti-cancerous
Studies have shown that apples may help protect against cancer, especially lung cancer, because of all the anti-oxidants and cancer-fighting compounds they contain.

Breathing aid
As already mentioned, don’t go peeling your next apple — the skin is jam-packed with an antioxidant called quercetin, which may protect your lungs from pollutants and reduce the risk of asthma.  A study http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/diabetes/ from St. George’s Hospital in London found that those who eat five or more apples a week have better lung function than those who don’t.  So start including one in your daily diet from today!

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Heart health
The high content of the specific fibre, pectin, in apples means they may protect against heart disease due to their potential to help lower cholesterol levels.

Diabetes prevention
Quercetin, the compound found in apple peel, may help reduce the risk of diabetes.

Radiance booster
The refreshing fruit helps replenish moisture in the skin and its acids have been shown to smooth fine lines.  Some even make an at-home “green-apple mask” to treat their skin!

Waistline shrinker
One study has shown that apples helped women in Brazil lose weight!  Apart from just eating apples, another weight-friendly trick is to substitute unsweetened applesauce for half the butter or oil in cake recipes, and you’ll get a naturally sweeter, moister cake, dessert or muffin – with half the fat!  Applesauce is fat and cholesterol-free, and one cup has almost as much filling fibre as one cup of whole-grain brown rice!

What happens when you ask a man to "buy a bag of apples" :-)

What happens when you ask a man to “buy a bag of apples” 🙂

Here are some quick, easy and delicious ways to include more apples in your diet:

• Enjoy their crunchy, fresh, deliciousness as is – snack on them by themselves.

• Pair an apple with a handful of almonds or sliced and spread with nut butter for an ideal, more substantial, well-balanced snack.

• Cooking brings out the apple’s soft spicy-sweet flavor so try baking one in the oven or microwave until soft and enjoy sprinkled with cinnamon and some chopped pecans or walnuts.

• Add them to healthy desserts, crumbles, bars and healthy muffins.

• The perfect sweet crunchy addition (especially a sweet Pink Lady) to salads – chop them up and pair with some salad greens, avocado, nuts or goats cheese.

• Chop up an apple to stir into your morning porridge or grate and add it to Bircher Muesli.

• Try making your own homemade applesauce.

• Blend them with leafy greens, avocado and blueberries for a refreshing, nutrient-packed Green Smoothie (I particularly love Granny Smiths for this!).

So there you have it.  Start enjoying and experimenting with this simple yet wondrous fruit – your body (and doctor!) will thank you for it! 🙂

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