Does an Apple a Day Really Keep You Healthy?

applesI love apples, and this years’ apple crop seems to look better than usual. Maybe it’s because I’m currently doing the Clean Gut book cleanse, which includes not eating any sugar or fruit (except for berries) for three weeks. And all I want to do is sink my teeth into a crunchy, juicy Honeycrisp apple right now. (Why did I start this cleanse during apple season?)

But just because I’m not eating apples for another couple of weeks, doesn’t mean the rest of you can’t be eating an apple a day… and from the recent research it definitely looks like everyone should be eating an apple a day*.

The Harvard School of Public Health recently published a study done over a 24-year period (1984-2008) where they analyzed data from over 188,000 people. This research determined that people who ate at least two servings of whole fruit a week, specifically apples (and also blueberries and grapes) were 23% less likely to develop Type II Diabetes than those who consumed whole fruit less than once a month. This study also found that subjects who drank fruit juice daily, increased their risk of developing Type II Diabetes by 23%. This study clearly shows how the fiber and other components of the whole fruit help to moderate blood-sugar levels, while conversely, drinking just the fruit juice spikes blood-sugar levels.

Another recent study done by Ohio State University showed that middle-aged adults, who consumed one apple a day for four weeks lowered their blood levels of LDL cholesterol by 40%. This study started with subjects who ate less than one piece of fruit a month and had them eat an apple a day for a month. Two other groups were given polyphenol supplements (apple antioxidant compounds) or a placebo. Neither of the supplement or placebo group had any change in their LDL cholesterol levels.

Based on these two studies alone, not to mention all of the other wonderful attribute of apples such as:

  • having the second-highest levels of antioxidants in fruit (after cranberries)
  • reducing risk of colon, prostate and lung cancer
  • phytochemicals that support the cardiovascular system
  • bone-building compounds that help with osteoporosis and arthritis

I’m going to be eating my organic apple-a-day…just as soon as I finish my Clean Gut cleanse! Who’s going to join me?

*Make sure to eat organic apples if at all possible, since apples are near the top of the Dirty-Dozen list of pesticide contaminated produce. If you can’t get organic or pesticide-free apples, then peel your apple to decrease your chance of ingesting toxic chemicals.

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