Monday, December 6, 2010

Why an apple a day keeps the doctor away....

 

Apples are an excellent source of 
pectin, vitamin C, and fiber.  They 
are also a good source of 
potassium.  The skin contains 
most of the apple's important 
nutrients.  Raw apples are higher 
in many nutrients and 
phytochemicals than cooked 
apples.  Apples that are raw and 
unpeeled, are a great source of 
many important phytochemicals, 
such as ellagic acid and 
flavonoids (especially quercetin).
For example, fresh whole apples 
and fresh apple juice contain 
approximately 100-130 
milligrams per 100 grams (roughly 3 1/2 ounces) of chlorogenic, ellagic, and caffeic 
acids.  In cooked or commercial apples, the content of these compounds is at or 
near zero.

Research has shown that the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is 
true. In one of the studies, researchers in Finland followed more than 5,000 Finnish 
men and women for more than twenty years.  Those who ate a lot of apples along 
with other flavonoid-rich foods, such as onions and tea, were found to have a 20 
percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate the smallest amount of those 
foods.

Apple consumption has also been linked to lower risk of asthma.  Research found 
that people who ate at least two apples each week had a 22 to 32% lower risk of 
developing asthma than those who ate less of the fruit.

Researchers believe that the apple's high content of flavonoids, like quercetin, are 
what contribute most to the fruit's protective effects against heart disease and 
asthma.  Pectin is a soluble fiber that has been shown to exert a number of beneficial 
effects.  Apples are very high in pectin.  Studies have found that pectin can lower 
cholesterol levels as well as improve the intestinal muscle's ability to push waste 
through the gastrointestinal tract.  Apples promote bowel regularity and relieve both 
constipation and diarrhea due to their insoluble fiber and pectin.

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