It turns out that there’s a lot more to that old Welsh saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” There’s growing evidence to support the notion that apples are, in fact, one of nature’s superfoods. According to Medical News Today, apples are one the top ten health foods. Apples are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavanoids, and fiber. With these and other nutrients, evidence suggests that apples may help to prevent or reduce cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
Studies have shown that a diet including apples has neurological benefits (Journal of Food Science, 2008). They can reduce cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Also, drinking apple juice can increase the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, which has been shown to increase memory in mice with Alzheimer-like symptoms.
This also suggests that apples can help to prevent dementia in humans.
A study involving 9,208 people over a 28-year period showed that those who had the highest apple content in their diet had the lowest incidence of stroke.
There’s also growing evidence that apples can help to prevent breast cancer, according to research conducted by prominent researcher Rui Hai Liu of Cornell University
In another study, published in the Journal of Food in 2014,. Apples were shown to have a positive effect on obesity in mice. Seven varieties of apples were compared, and Granny Smith’s were found to have the most beneficial effect on good bacteria in the gut, mitigating the circumstances that tended toward obesity.
The Florida State University found that older women who ate apples everyday had 23% lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and 4% more HDL (good) cholesterol, after just six months.
The key to proper consumption of apples is to eat them in their entirety at mealtimes. Snacking on them throughout the day could damage one’s teeth, due to the acid content. Also, eating the skin is recommended, rather than peeling it and throwing it away; it contains most of the apple’s nutrients.
As it happens, right now is apple harvesting season. Several varieties are in season, including Gala, Honey Crisp, Paula Red, and Soergel Special (according to http://soergels.com/apple-chart/).
Maybe you should consider planting your own apple trees. They grow between 10 and 30 feet tall, and almost as wide. They’re a worthwhile investment, as they can live almost 100 years. Apple trees bloom in the spring, and take between 100 and 200 days to reach harvest, depending upon the variety of apple.
With the myriad positive effects apples have on various major illnesses, the old adage seems more timely than ever.