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Apples: Good for Weight Loss and Overall Health

Oct 12, 2012

Apples are low in calories and fat, low in sodium, and contain vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. These can all help aid in weight loss. Fiber helps you to feel full longer because it expands in your stomach so it takes less food to satisfy your hunger. Apples are low in sodium. Keeping sodium levels helps to prevent water retention. And of course, being active helps burn extra calories to speed up weight loss.

A Brazilian study found that women who ate three apples or pears per day lost more weight while dieting than women who did not eat fruit while dieting. Apples also contain enzymes that help your body digest food more efficiently.

Apple Health Benefits

Apples may not contain many nutrients like some other fruits, but an apple a day can do more than keep the doctor away. Apples are a good source of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. Research has shown that antioxidants help to prevent heart disease and the formation of some cancers.

Apples contain pectin, which help keep blood cholesterol levels in check. When pectin dissolves in water, soluble fiber creates a gel-like substance that binds bile acids and draws cholesterol out of the bloodstream. The pectin in apples lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol. People who eat two apples per day may lower their cholesterol by as much as 16 percent.

Soluble fiber's actively slows the absorption of carbohydrates, keeping blood sugar levels on an even. The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body's need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes.

Apple consumption helps aid in bone protection. French researchers found that a flavanoid called phloridzin that is found only in apples may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density. Boron, another ingredient in apples, also strengthens bones.

Apples can help prevent respiratory disorders. One recent study shows that children with asthma who drank apple juice on a daily basis suffered from less wheezing than children who drank apple juice only once per month. Another study showed that children born to women who eat a lot of apples during pregnancy have lower rates of asthma than children whose mothers ate few apples.

Also a study of 10,000 people has shown that those who ate the most apples had a 50 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer. Researchers believe this is due to the high levels of the flavonoids; quercetin and naringin in apples.

Selection and Storage

A few varieties, like Cortland, Jonathan, and Winesap, are all-purpose apples. But in general, choose apples for their intended purpose. For baking, try Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Cortland, Northern Spy, or Rhode Island Greening; they deliver flavor and keep their shape when cooked.

For just plain eating, you can't beat tart Macouns or award-winning Empires and Galas. If possible, buy apples from an orchard. Apples prefer humid air, so the crisper drawer of the refrigerator is the best place to store them.

Some varieties will keep until spring, though most get mealy in a month or two. Golden Delicious apples must be enjoyed right away before their skins shrivel.

Serving Tips

Always wash and scrub your apples. Supermarket apples are often waxed, which seals in pesticide residues that may be on the skins. Peeling apples will remove the film but also a lot of the fiber. All apples will brown when cut, but the rate varies among varieties. To prevent browning, sprinkle a little lemon juice on cut surfaces.

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