Can an apple a day keep the doctor (and dentist) away?


The old proverb, dating back to 1866, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread” and soon afterward shortened to “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” still holds true. Low-calorie apples are high in fiber, phytochemicals, and potassium, which can be healthy for your heart, teeth, waist, and gut.

Apples are a sweet source of pectin, a soluble fiber, which could help lower the “bad” LDL blood cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol in your blood increases your risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death among Americans. Apples also contain polyphenols, a heart-healthy phytochemical. They are also a good source of potassium, which can help lower high blood pressure, yet most of us are falling short of this mineral in our diets. Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, increasing their risk of heart disease and stroke. Apples also contain tannins, another polyphenol that will make your dentist smile. These tannins have anti-sticky properties that may inhibit the bacteria in your mouth from interacting with your teeth and reducing the buildup of nasty dental plaque.

When it comes to your waist, consuming an apple before a meal may help you better manage your weight. A study of over 55 adults published in Appetite uncovered that chomping on an apple before lunch helped the participates, on average, reduce their caloric intake by 15 percent or about 185 calories at that meal. While the mechanism isn’t known, the researchers in this study believe that eating fruit at the start of a meal could help increase satiety or fullness. This could help you eat less and cut calories at that meal.

Lastly, your gut loves apples. The fiber in apples feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, allowing them to flourish and contribute to a healthy microbiome or barrier in your gastrointestinal tract. This barrier helps prevent unhealthy bacteria from entering your body and doing harm.

While there are over 100 varieties of apples grown in the United States, the most popular, according to US Apple, which is a nonprofit, member-based association within the apple industry, are listed in the table below, along with their best usage:

Courtesy of USApple

The beauty of apples is that they can be consumed from sunup to sunset. Here are some recipes to help you enjoy apples throughout your day:

Breakfast: Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apple Walnut Topping

Lunch: Spinach Salad with Apples and Eggs

Dinner: Teriyaki Chicken

Snacks: Cinnamon Apples

Enjoy them often!

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