Apple
ripe red apple with green leaf isolated on white

Apple


Apple

  In Greek mythology, apples were associated with the healing god Apollo, perhaps the source for the modern-day adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. In medieval times, physicians were taught that cooked apples could relieve disturbances of  the bowels, lungs and nervous system. The custom of serving  fresh fruit, particularly apples, at the end of a meal arose  because of the favorable effects on digestion attributed to  them by the physicians Hippocrates and Galen. Plus apple  juice was one of the earliest prescribed antidepressants.   Apples are not bursting with vitamins and minerals like other  fruits, though they do provide a bit of vitamin C and  potassium. However, without a doubt apples are amazing for  controlling blood sugar, says Dr. Barry Sears in his book The  Top 100 Zone Foods. “Apples are a good source of soluble  fiber, especially pectin, which helps control insulin levels by  slowing the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Pectin also  helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion.”   We now also know that apples fairly shine in antioxidant  phytochemicals; the principal ones identified so far are  phenolics and the flavonoid quercetin.   Research suggests that natural antioxidants like these could  be even more effective than vitamin supplements. Comell  University researchers, for example, have found that the  amount of fresh apple extract from a medium apple with skin  provides the antioxidant activity equal to 1,500 milligrams of  vitamin C. Using colon cancer cells treated with apple extract,  the scientists found that cell proliferation was inhibited in  vitro. The researchers also tested the apple extract against  human liver cancer cells and again found inhibition of the  growth of those cells.   People who eat lots of apples may have lower rates of lung  cancer, judging by a study done in Finland. The study,  published August 1, 1997, in the American Journal of  Epidemiology, was focused on flavonoids. The study reviewed  the diet of 9,959 Finns aged five to 99 years. Of those in the  group who were cancer-free in 1965, those who ate the most  flavonoid-rich foods – apples and other fruit, onions, juices,  vegetables, and jams – had a 20 percent lower incidence of  cancer through 1991. Quercetin, a flavonoid found mostly in  apples, accounted for 95 percent of the flavonoids consumed  by the study group.   To get the most benefit, don’t peel your apples. Quercetin is  found only in the skin.