After a summer break of holidaying, renewed fitness goals and a lot more mental and emotional calm I am back with a brand new #DEBUNKED ! You’ll notice that the format has been altered due to some feedback I received so here it is, as asked by YOU my dearest reader J
I’ve always expressed an indignation at the age-old Welsh proverb that consuming an apple a day will keep the doctor at bay; doctors aren’t miserable sods who bask in the sadism of breaking bad news (not all anyway). Yes you do have the occasional, odd grump of a patient whom you just love to watch squirming under your stern, condescending tone BUT back to the fabled fruit –
Making several noteworthy appearances throughout history, this miracle fruit can be traced back to indeed 6500 B.C. where it formed a part of the Homo Sapien’s diet. One doesn’t need to be a scientist to be aware that this sweet treat packs quite a nutritional punch and is packed full of goodness; mum definitely reiterated this infinite times when trying to persuade me to choose it over a cookie. Time to delve into the fuss behind the juiciness …
When it comes to an apple it isn’t just what’s on the inside that matters; the peel boasts of immense power. Much of apples’ antioxidant power is contained in the peel, where you’ll find antioxidants like Catechin, Procyanidins, Chlorogenic acid and Ploridizin. In particular one component of an apple’s peel (which also has most of the fiber) is something called Ursolic acid, which was linked to a lower risk of obesity in a recent study in mice where it boosted calories burn and encouraged lean tissue growth.
The fiber in an apple is most certainly one of its biggest assets. Not only does it keep one satiated for longer, it does so at a low glycemic index (slow release of sugar into the blood stream) and at a low calorie cost. Add to that the fact that apples can be afforded by most and are easy on one’s grocery budget and we definitely have sound starting reasons for including it into the diet.
Recent research published in both the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and in the Journal of Food Science have both indicated of the power of apples on the body’s neurological system. The findings show that the consumption of this fruit regularly increases the production of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine which, aids improved memory and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Quercetin, a power antioxidant found in apples is further found to reduce cellular death that results from oxidation and inflammation of neurons thereby reducing risk of other neurodegenerative diseases.
Bursting with antioxidants, apples could be labeled “Cancer Warriors”. A 2007 study from Cornell University, led by Rui Hai Liu, stated that Triterpenoids found in apples led the way in battling liver, colonic and breast cancers. Impressive enough as cancer-fighting is, regularly eating apples has vast cardiovascular and respiratory benefits too. More than one study has evidenced that including apples in one’s diet reduces the risk of asthma and coronary heart disease. A 2011 study headed by Prof Bahram Arjmandi of Florida State University showed that women who ate 75g of dried apples daily for 6 months had a 23% decrease in Low-density lipids (LDLs). Another study of 2500 middle-ages men in Wales, performed by University of California found improved lung function in those that ate apples.
All that being said, it isn’t always rosy when it comes to apples. Whilst it cannot be denied that they are indeed a healthy snack and can contribute to weight loss, it is important to eat such a fructose-rich fruit correctly and in moderation. Best time to consume one is straight after a workout, whole and with its peel. The worst would be post a meal as ‘dessert’ when the glycemic load of the stomach is already high and chances of this sugary fruit being converted to fat is high.
On that note it must be stressed yet again that the benefits of an apple is utmost when consumed whole in its entirety and NOT when processed in the form of tinned, syrupy fruit NOR when used to make calorie and sugar dense puddings and desserts. Further, biting and chewing of the fibrous fruit WITH its peel stimulates the production of saliva and reduces the risk of tooth decay. Again the key is moderation because over-eating of apples, which are acidic in nature, will damage the tooth enamel and can be 4x more damaging than drinking of carbonated drinks according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Dentistry.
Another potential disadvantage of the fruit is its seeds or pips. These contain a substance called Amygdalin, which can release Cyanide that most of us know to be a poison. But for all of you, who are beginning to panic, keep calm; you’d have to eat 140+ seeds at a time to ingest a fatal dose. You could however direct your worry more towards the pesticide and wax residue that unfortunately are found in large quantities on almost every piece of fruit found in the market today.
Still, overall, keep the apple in your life a day. It is worth the sweet, tangy crunch. On behalf of the medical community I concede defeat – Apple : 1 and Doctor : 0
Juggling many roles from physician to writer to pilates instructor to Marketing-PR executive, Dr. Daamini is constantly pushed and inspired to get creative on how to encompass a Retreat into her daily life.