Are Apples a Healthy Fruit to Eat Daily?
Apples are a healthy fruit to eat daily. They may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and asthma, according to Cornell researchers who published a study in "Nutrition Journal" in 2004. Phytochemicals in apples act as antioxidants that may inhibit cancer cells, lower cholesterol, benefit your nervous system, help strengthen your bones, and protect you from cardiovascular disease.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get 25 grams of fiber per day and that men get 38 grams a day. Eating an apple daily can help you meet your fiber requirement. A medium apple provides 4.4 grams of dietary fiber. It also gives you soluble fiber, such as pectin, which helps prevent cholesterol buildup in your blood vessels. The apple's insoluble fiber adds bulk to your intestinal tract, and its water content cleanses and moves food through your digestive system quickly.
A medium apple contains antioxidant vitamins, with 8.4 milligrams of vitamin C, 5 micrograms of vitamin A and 0.33 milligrams of vitamin E. It also provides B-complex vitamins, at 0.031 milligrams of thiamin, 0.047 milligrams of riboflavin, 0.166 milligrams of niacin, 0.075 milligrams of vitamin B-6, and 5 micrograms of folate. There are also 4 micrograms of vitamin K. Although these are small amounts, the B-vitamins help your body use protein, carbohydrates, and fat from other foods you eat. The others vitamins are supplementary to your diet.
An apple also has 11 milligrams of calcium, .22 milligrams of iron, 9 milligrams of magnesium, 20 milligrams of phosphorus, 195 milligrams of potassium, and .07 milligrams of zinc. It provides .64 milligrams of manganese, which helps your body make connective tissue and bone, metabolize carbohydrates and fats, regulate your blood sugar, and absorb calcium. Women should get 1.8 milligrams of manganese per day and men should get 2.3; so eating an apple daily provides 25 to 35 percent of the manganese you need.
Protection Against Nerve Damage
Apples contain naturally occurring antioxidants called phenolics, which protect your nerve cells from free radical damage, according to a group of Cornell University researchers who published a study in "Journal of Food Science" in 2004. They gave apple phenolic extract to rats and found that the apple phenolics prevented nerve damage from oxidative stress. They also noted a significant increase in cell viability and a decrease in damage to nerve cell membranes, leading them to conclude that naturally occurring antioxidants in fresh apples may offer protection against neurodegenerative disorders.
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