Superfood Profile: Health Benefits of Apples

Superfood Profile: Health Benefits of Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? We are here to tell you that this old saying could in fact be quite true! Apples are a very common fruit and can be found in most homes across Australia. We all eat apples, but do we know what they are actually doing for us? We are here to investigate why apples are so popular and what are the benefits of apples. Most importantly, we will focus on why you should juice apples and share some of our favourite apple juice recipes!

While we all know fruits and vegetables are good for us - just like most fruits and vegetables the health benefits are quite astounding when you take a closer look. Once you start to understand the nutrition your body gets from different fruits and vegetables, you can really start to target your diet to achieve your personal optimum health, prevent illness and give your body overall vitality!

Apples are rich in complex antioxidants which help the body fight many diseases and are pivotal in disease prevention. A diet containing apples can help someone maintain a healthy weight and/or lose weight, improve lung function and reduce risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Apples:

1. Weight Control & Management

Apples are a great natural source of fibre. The fibre found in apples is a complex natural fibre meaning our body takes longer to break it down and will there for keep you fuller for longer. An apple is the perfect snack for those who are wanting to either lose weight as they will both satisfy a sweet tooth naturally and also keep you full so you don't reach for an unhealthy snack! Apples are widely known for being one of the best fruits for losing weight. Dried apples are also a great healthy snack and gives you another option for snacking.

Green apples are the best fruit to include in your cold press juice if you need to add a little sweetness to any vegetable juice. Apples contain fibre which helps to break down the sugars and won't cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels! If you are looking for more juice recipes for maintaining and losing weight, see our article Juice Recipes for Weight Loss for more!

2. Lowers Risk of Diabetes

Glucose is the body's basic source of fuel and is vital for survival. Insulin is then needed to regulate the glucose levels in the body. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and acts as a messenger to instruct the body's cells to absorb glucose, in effect reducing blood glucose levels and maintaining a health blood glucose level. Diabetes means that the body either can't produce insulin or insufficient amounts of it.

Apples help to regulate blood sugar levels as they contain compounds help tackle diabetes in 3 ways:

  • Decrease the absorption of glucose from the digestive tract
  • Stimulate the beta cells in the pancreas to secrete insulin
  • Increase uptake/redistribution of glucose from your blood by stimulating insulin receptors

In particular, women are more receptive and studies suggest that women who eat 1 apple per day could lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 28%!

While most fruit juices can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels for diabetics, cold press apple juice actually has the reverse affect! This is due to the large amount of fibre in apples, which slows down the absorption rate and reduces the surge in blood sugar levels. We always recommend green apples as the fruit of choice for adding a little bit of sweetness to any cold press vegetable juice.

3. Diarrhea & Constipation Cure

On average an adult requires around 25-30gm of fibre per day to maintain healthy digestion and consistent bowel movements. Ensuring your body consistently receives the right amount of fibre every day is important to help maintain normal digestion without over-doing or under-doing it which can lead to either constipation or diarrhea. It is also important to ensure sufficient fluid is also consumed to help the fibre to flow through the body and work its magic! Drink fresh cold press apple juice is the perfect way to allow the body to access the fibre quickly and efficiently in a liquid form. Apple juice can even act as a mild laxative. Be sure to keep the skin on the apples as the skin contains extra fibre!

4. Decreased Risk of Stroke

A study published in the journal 'Stroke' found that eating 200g of white-fleshed fruit a day (or 2 small apples) can reduce your risk of stroke by almost a third! Stroke risk is decreased by 9% for every 25g of white-fleshed fruit (such as apples) eaten per day. There for an apple which is generally around 100g can potentially reduce your risk of stoke by 36%. But why white-fleshed fruits? White-fleshed fruits such as apples, bananas, cucumbers or pears contain an antioxidant chemical called quercetin which is attributed to reducing inflammation. Inflammation is linked to the hardening of arteries which in turn can cause blood clots which limit the blood flow to the brain and thus cause a stroke.

Combining apples with celery is the perfect "anti-inflammation" juice!

5. Apples Can Starve off Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's in it's simplest form is the accumulation of a protein called beta-amyloid in the brain which get entangled within brains nerve cells, which over time causes cognative dysfunction and neurodegeneration.

Dr. Shea of the University of Massachusetts has conducted studies which show that apple juice may help to improve memory by preventing the decline of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the brain which transmit messages from nerve cells. They are critical for healthy memory and brain function.

Apples have also been attributed to helping the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer's. The study conducted by Dr. Shea found a 27% improvement in behavioral symptoms such as depression and overall mood when apple juice was consumed daily. According to Dr. Shea 2 glasses of fresh apple juice daily can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. Cold press apple juice is also a great way to consume more apples at any given time, with no preservatives or sugars to interfere with the benefits of apples for Alzheimer's disease.

6. Apples for Heart Health

Apples contain phytonutrients or phytochemicals which act as antioxidants against LDL or low-density lipoproteins, which is the detrimental type of cholesterol in the blood. Apples are fibre-rich and in particular a type of soluble fibre called pectin which blocks cholesterol from absorbing in the stomach and encourages the body to use cholesterol rather than storing it which can the result in heart disease. Obviously there are lots of factors which are attributed to good heart health and an overall healthy diet and regular exercise is vital too.

Drinking apple juice is sucha great way to squeeze in your servings of fruits such as apples. And the best part? The effects of drinking just a small amount of fresh apple juice can be helpful in a short period of time, this is not a long-term result situation! A little thing that can make a big difference to your overall heart health quickly!

7. Apples Reduce Risk of Cancer

Antioxidants are a chemical which are both naturally occurring in the body (endogenous) and also dependent on diet and lifestyle (exogenous). Antioxidants interact with and counter balance free radicals in the body which interfere with cells and can cause cancer. Antioxidants can be found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and apples contain a type called flavonoids. A wide variety of studies have been conducted and the benefits of apples for cancer increase with every apple consumed! While it may not be so easy to consume 2-3 apples per day, it is very easy to drink a glass of fresh apples juice which can contain 3-4 apples in one glass.

Be sure to eat the skin of apples as they are packed with more flavanoids and 5 times the amount of polyphenols (another type of antioxidant) than the flesh!

8. Apples for Boosting Immunity

Apples are opacked full of Vitamin C, Vitamin B which help boost the immune system and are perfect for helping to ward of the cold or flu. Apples also contain Quercetin (the antioxidant chemical) which is beneficial for boosting the immune system and making it stronger in the long term. Including apples in your daily diet with help to keep your immune system strong and robust and help ward off more serious illness in the long term.

We have a range of juice recipes which are targeted at improving overall immunity, you can see our article here: How to Boost Immune System with Juice

9. Apples for Detoxifying the Liver

The liver is responsible for clearing the toxins out of the body and a flavanoid found in apples called Phlorzidin helps the liver to produce bile, which expels toxins diretcly from the body. Most liver cleanse diets or liver detoxes will use apples and in particular apple juice as a primary ingredient for helping to flush out the liver. By effectively cleansing the liver you are helping your body to rid itself of potentially harmful toxins and to increase the body's ability to do so.

Green apples are particularly rich in malic acid which helps the liver to cleanse and detoxify itself.

By including apples in your daily diet you are giving the body a "helping hand" to detox more effectively and efficiently everyday.

Apples for Healthier, White Teeth

Apples are aptly names "nature's toothbrush" and for good reason! Chewing stimulates the gums and increases saliva production which helps to clear away impurities and bacteria. Saliva also decreases mouth acidity which is caused by sugary drinks or acidic foods and leads to cavities and bacterias growing in the mouth.

Apples are perfect for munching and crunching on as they stimulate the saliva and help to remove build in and around the teeth and in tight places.

Protecting our gums is the most important thing we can do in terms of oral health and more teeth are lost through gum disease than any other cause. Ensuring that you are consuming plenty of Vitamin C in your diet and eating hard fruits and vegetables like apples to stimulate the gums is the best thing you can do to prevent gum disease.

Our favourite Cold Press Apple Juice Recipe

Vitality 4 Life's Signature Apple Juice

  • 6 green apples
  • small piece of ginger
  • slice of lemon
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Combine the honey and cinnamon together and feed through the juicer while juicing the apples and ginger. This juice is lovely and sweet, and tastes almost like a dessert. The combination of lemon, ginger and apples makes this juice cleansing for the body and is great for digestion. Keep the peels or skins on the lemon, ginger and apples as this is where a lot of the antioxidants and fibre comes from!

Sources:

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/5_health_benefits_of_an_apple
http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/5_health_benefits_of_an_apple
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/15-health-benefits-of-eating-apples
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2014/05/08/two-apples-a-day-may-keep-strokes-away/
http://www.drsinatra.com/apples-and-alzheimers-prevention

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Ilonka Hofmann