Apple season is upon us, and while they are colorful, juicy, and delicious, can one a day REALLY keep the doctor away?
According to Dr. Adarsh Gupta — Director of the Center for Medical Weight Loss and Metabolic Control at Rowan School of Medicine — apples contain Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant, capable of blocking some of the damage caused by free radicals, and boosting the body’s resistance against infectious agents.
Dr. Gupta says that apples are also extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. “The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease,” he adds. “These phytonutrients help protect the body from the detrimental effects of free radicals.”
Apples contain B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B-6) which are key in maintaining red blood cells and keeping the nervous system in good health. “A diet high in fiber can help prevent the development of certain diseases, and may help prevent the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood from rising,” Dr. Gupta says.
And apples are rich in polyphenolic compounds, minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus and an anti-oxidant called quercetin, which Dr. Gupta says is good for the brain. “Quercetin reduces cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons,” making them “good for brain and neurological health.”
Heather Sylvester, registered dietitian at Kennedy Health System, says that a high intake of apples, has been linked with a lower risk of asthma and bronchitis. Apples are also a “real calorie bargain” at only 60 to 80 calories per medium-sized apple. “Most of the quercetin in apples is in the peel,” she says. “Because fresh fruit is about 85-percent water, it fills you up. The fiber helps you stay satisfied longer, too.”