We all know, the saying goes ,”An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples have been shown to have many health benefits when it comes to keeping you and your organs healthy.
Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer. That alone is an amazing accomplishment for one single fruit.
But apples also contain a group of chemicals that could protect the brain from the neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In a study done at Cornell University, Dr. Chang Y. Lee found that apple phenolics (the kind of antioxidants found in fresh apples) can protect nerve cells from damage. They do this by preventing neurotoxicity caused by oxidative stress. Red delicious apples from New York State were used in the study.
The study looked at fruits as a source of vitamin C, a known factor in the reduction of Alzheimer’s. The researchers also noted that these same fruits are a valuable source of quercitin. Quercitin is a flavonoid, and flavonoids are powerful antioxidants. Other studies have linked the concentrated juice of apples to a reduction in cell death and oxidative damage in the brain.
According to Dr. Lee, although all apples are high in critical phytonutrients, the amount of phenolic compounds
in the apple flesh varies from year to year and from growing region to growing region.
When you are at the supermarket, chances are there are many varieties of apples that you can choose from. Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Fuji, Spartan, Braeburn, MacIntosh, and even a variety called Pink Ladies are just a few examples. You can buy apples all year round, they are inexpensive, and make a healthy, easy-to-pack snack.
Don’t forget that apples can be used in all sorts of healthy dessert recipes, too. You can set aside an hour to make your own apple pie. You might even find that baking an apple pie is an excellent way to de-stress. It can be a relaxing and comforting thing to do. Make your own whole grain pie crust and fill with apple slices. Apples are quite sweet on their own so try leaving out the sugar, but don’t forget the cinnamon! Enjoy the delicious smells that will fill your kitchen. And when it is done, invite a friend over to share a piece. What a great way to get a brain-boosting treat!
One final note: buy organic apples if you can. The skins in non-organic apples may contain traces of chemicals from pesticides and fungicides. If you can’t buy organic, wash the skins with mild fruit soap. Don’t peel and eat! The skin contains a lot of the apple’s beneficial nutrients.