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An apple a day
July 25, 2013, 11:15 am

"One apple a day, keeps the doctor away" is the well known proverb addressing the health benefits of apples. But what makes apples, and not oranges or bananas, so special? They are proven to be one of the most nutritionally complete fruit. Apples are considered a nutritious snack that fills your stomach for a couple of hours due to its high fiber content. The reasons of eating an apple per day are plenty…

They are slow food: Firm and packed with fiber (5 grams, or 20 percent of your daily value), they demand a chewing commitment, giving your body time to register itself 'full' before you scarf down too many calories. And the natural sweeteners in apples enter the bloodstream gradually, helping keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady so you feel full longer — the opposite of many sugary snacks, which produce a quick rush followed by a hunger-inducing crash.

They help you breathe easy: The fruit may protect the lungs of adults, lowering the risk of asthma, lung cancer, and other diseases.

They zap cholesterol: Thanks to two key components, pectin (a type of fiber) and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), apples can take a bite out of blood cholesterol levels and prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol — the chemical process that turns it into artery-clogging plaque. The trick to maximizing the benefit: Don't toss the peel; apple skin has two to six times the antioxidant compounds as the flesh.

They fight cancer: Lab studies have shown that several compounds in this juicy fruit curb the growth of cancer cells — but they are most potent when the apple is eaten whole. People who munch more than one a day lower their risk for several cancers (oral, esophageal, colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and others) by 9 to 42 percent, Italian researchers found.

They make you smarter: Possibly because they boost the production of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells, apples are now thought to keep your brain sharp as you age, enhance memory, and potentially lessen the odds of getting Alzheimer's disease, suggests one recent animal study from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. With this sort of nutritious nosh at your disposal, it might be time to rethink the idea of a "smart cookie.

Best food choice: Apples are one of the most popular fruits among children, and the fruit can be served in various ways, making them a versatile and easy route to boosting fruit intake for all the family. Some popular combinations include baked apples stuffed with dried apricots and served with yoghurt, apple sauce for dessert or as a topping, apple sauce used as a sugar substitute for baking, apple juice, dried apple rings as a snack, cooked and served as an accompaniment to savory meat dishes. 

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