Health Benefits of Apples

September 8th, 2013 by Loretta Lanphier, NP, BCTN, CN, CH, HHP

Health Benefits of Apples

Over-flowing baskets of gorgeous apples appear in farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and local grocery stores with each fall and winter season. In my opinion, apples are one of life’s tastiest pleasures. Apples are one of the healthiest fruits provided to us by our Creator. Some anti-cancer studies show that one of the health benefits of apples is that when eaten daily, they offer better anti-cancer benefits than lesser amounts, meaning that the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” is excellent advice. I’ll refer back to this quote at the end of the article.

September 16th of every year is International Eat an Apple Day, which people worldwide celebrate by enjoying a piece of this delightful and delicious fruit. Fortunately, we don’t have to make it a one-day celebration. In fact, because of the many health benefits of apples, eating just one apple a day is more effective at preventing cardiovascular disease than the statin drugs so often prescribed. Did you know there are approximately 7,500 varieties of apples grown today, and they offer a great range of flavors from tart to tangy to sweet? However, the health benefits of apples make all of these varieties common.

Apples are also an age-old fruit. Apples are mentioned in the Biblical story of Adam and Eve and Greek mythology. We think of apples as American as apple pie in the USA even though apples are grown worldwide.

Apples and Pesticides

In the northern hemisphere, apple season begins at the end of summer and lasts until the early part of winter. It’s important to note that apples available at other times have been in cold storage or imported from the southern hemisphere. According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2013 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” conventionally grown apples are among the top 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues are found. Therefore, if you want to avoid health risks associated with pesticides, it’s best to eat apples that have been grown organically. Also, if you decide to purchase non-organic apples, be sure to ask your grocer about the kind of wax used to protect the apple’s surface during storage or shipping. It would be best to have no outer coating, but if there is, then carnauba wax (from the carnauba palm tree), beeswax, and shellac (from the lac beetle) are preferable to petroleum-based waxes, which contain solvent residues or wood resins. (The World’s Healthiest Foods)

Worried about Sugar in Apples? Don’t.

Frequently I am asked about the sugar in fruits concerning blood sugar regulation. Indeed, this is a valid concern because, after all, fruits are sweet. However, when we eat the edible portion of the fruit consuming all the synergistic components of the fruit, these components help with blood sugar regulation. With apples, we are mostly talking about polyphenols which are natural plant chemicals that work as antioxidants to protect the cells in your body from free radical damage. Polyphenols are also capable of affecting the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, improving our blood sugar regulation.  Apples contain a fantastic supply of polyphenols, and this is where it gets interesting. Research studies show polyphenols as the favorite mechanism used by apples to protect themselves from UV-B radiation. Cells in apples’ skin that conduct photosynthesis are especially sensitive to UV-B light from the sun. Many of the polyphenols in the skin of apples can absorb UV-B light and thereby prevent UV-B from damaging the photosynthetic cells in the apple skin. Polyphenols, then, are like the apple’s natural sunscreen. Apple polyphenols impact our carbohydrate processing in the following ways:

  • Slowing down of carbohydrate digestion. Quercetin and other flavonoids found in apples act to inhibit carbohydrate-digesting enzymes like alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase. When these enzymes are inhibited, carbohydrates are broken down less readily into simple sugars, and less load is placed on our bloodstream to accommodate more sugar.
  • Reduction of glucose absorption. Polyphenols in apples clearly lower the rate of glucose absorption from our digestive tract. Once again, this change lessens the sugar load in our bloodstream.
  • Stimulation of the pancreas to put out more insulin. Getting sugar out of our bloodstream often requires the help of insulin, a hormone produced by the beta cells of our pancreas. By telling the beta cells of our pancreas to produce more insulin, the polyphenols found in apples can help us clear more sugar from our blood and keep our blood sugar level in better balance.
  • Stimulation of insulin receptors to latch on to more insulin and increase the flow of sugar out of our bloodstream and into our cells. For sugar to leave our bloodstream and enter our cells (especially our muscle cells), insulin receptors on those cells must bind together with the insulin hormone and create cell changes that will allow sugar to pass through the cell membrane and into the cell. (Muscle cells, for example, continuously need this uptake of sugar from the bloodstream to function.) Polyphenols in apples help activate the muscle cell insulin receptors, and in this way, they help facilitate the passage of sugar from our bloodstream up into our cells. Once again, the result is better blood sugar regulation in our bodies. (The World’s Healthiest Foods)

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Health Benefits of Apples

  • 4 grams of fiber per medium apple
  • pectin helps to detoxify the digestive tract
  • lowers the risk of death from heart disease
  • reduces the risk of stroke
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • lowers cholesterol levels
  • low in calories
  • lowers metabolic syndrome
  • lowers C-reactive protein
  • boosts exercise endurance
  • may help prevent Alzheimer’s
  • contains phloridzin
  • increases bone density
  • helps with weight loss
  • rich in polyphenols
  • cleans teeth & gums
  • supports healthy eyesight
  • lowers asthma risk
  • vitamin C source
  • lowers lung cancer risk
  • lowers colon cancer risk
  • decreases insulin need

health benefits of apples

Healthy Baked Apple Chips Recipe

Ingredient List

1 1/2 Tblsp of cinnamon
1/2 Tblsp apple pie spice
1/4 tsp unrefined salt
3 organic apples, cored

Directions

Preheat oven to 200. Core apples & slice as thin as possible. You can also use a mandoline. In a bowl, mix together the spices & salt. Toss the apple slices in the spice mixture to coat. Then place apples on a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake for 30 minutes — check the apples & flip them. Bake for another 30-45 minutes or until crispy. Let cool & enjoy!

One more thing…

Back to the old adage that I mentioned in the first paragraph, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Our great-grandparents knew precisely what that meant. Back in their day, they knew that keeping the intestinal tract clean and supported was an excellent way to keep illness and disease away. In fact, many children were given black draught syrup before beginning school each year to help “clean them out.” The taste was less than appealing but did its job well, from what I hear. Nowadays, there are easier and more effective ways to keep your intestinal tract clean and moving. The most natural way is by consuming fresh, organic apples. When the apple pectin goes through the intestines, it collects and rids your body of microbes — bacteria, viruses, yeast, and mold. Apples can also help with SIBO and other digestive tract concerns. When your gut is supported and cleansed regularly, your health will soar.

Sometimes we need extra help or faster help with elimination. In those times, I highly recommend Oxy-Powder oxygen-based intestinal cleanser. If gas, bloating, or occasional constipation makes you feel like your digestive system needs a tune-up, Oxy-Powder can help by using natural oxygen to safely and effectively melt away compacted feces from your intestinal tract. It’s an easy way to stay regular, support a healthy lifestyle and promote intestinal harmony while creating an environment that encourages friendly probiotic growth. I’ve used Oxy-Powder for twenty years for myself, my family, and with clients – there is nothing better.

References

The World’s Healthiest Foods

Consumers Union of United States, Inc. Do you know what you’re eating? An analysis of US government data on pesticide residues in foods. Consumers Union of United States, Inc. Edward Groth III, PhD, Project Director, Charles M. Benbrook, PhD, Consultant, Public Service Projects Department, Technical Division. Feb 1999. 1999.

Hanhineva K, Törrönen R, Bondia-Pons I et al. Impact of Dietary Polyphenols on Carbohydrate Metabolism. Int J Mol Sci. 2010; 11(4): 1365-1402. 2010.

Solovchenko A and Schmitz-Eiberger M. Significance of skin flavonoids for UV-B-protection in apple fruits. J. Exp. Bot., Aug 2003; 54: 1977 – 1984. 2003.

Loretta Lanphier is a Naturopathic Practitioner, Board Certified Traditional Naturopath, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Clinical Herbalist as well as the CEO / Founder of Oasis Advanced Wellness in The Woodlands TX. She has studied and performed extensive research in health science, natural hormone balancing, anti-aging techniques, nutrition, natural medicine, weight loss, herbal remedies, non-toxic cancer support and is actively involved in researching new natural health protocols and products.  A 14 year stage 3 colon cancer survivor, Loretta is able to relate to both-sides-of-the-health-coin as patient and practitioner when it comes to health and wellness. “My passion is counseling others about what it takes to keep the whole body healthy using natural and non-toxic methods.” Read Loretta’s health testimony Cancer: The Path to Healing. Loretta is a Contributor and Editor of the worldwide E-newsletter Advanced Health & Wellness. Check out Oasis Advanced Wellness and our natural skin care site Oasis Serene Botanicals.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.

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