Five reasons why an apple a day keeps the doctor away

Apples can protect us from a range of diseases — from lung cancer to brain stroke — and offer health benefits like improved memory.

Myupchar October 16, 2019 14:48:50 IST
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Five reasons why an apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • Apples are a storehouse of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals

  • Apples can protect us from a range of diseases and offer health benefits like improved memory

  • Eating apples regularly can reduce the risks of thrombotic stroke

Bake them in a pie; turn them into jam, chutney or appletini; juice them; slice them; or eat them whole, apples are as delicious as they are magical. There's scientific research to prove it, too.

Apples are a storehouse of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. They can protect us from a range of diseases — from lung cancer to brain stroke — and offer health benefits like improved memory.

Five reasons why an apple a day keeps the doctor away

Representational image. Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

Here's a look at five scientifically-backed health benefits of apples:

1. Improve memory

Drinking fresh apple juice regularly can improve memory, according to research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, US. The reason: juiced apple increases the production of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain.

Increased levels of acetylcholine have been shown to slow down the mental decline in Alzheimer’s patients, too.

2. Restrict cell-damage in Alzheimer's disease

Studies show that the brain cells of people living with Alzheimer's disease die because of oxidative stress. Fruits like apples, bananas and oranges contain phenolic phytochemicals - powerful antioxidants that can reduce neuronal cell damage induced by oxidative stress.

A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that phenolic extracts from apples (with skins) were even more effective in slowing neurotoxicity than the antioxidants in bananas and oranges.

3. Reduce the risk of diabetes

According to research published in the British Medical Journal, a peer-reviewed journal, eating whole apples (as well as blueberries, grapes and pears) can reduce the risk of diabetes. The research, with 187,382 participants, was based on data from three prospective cohort studies in the UK, US and Singapore. Researchers analysed the diet of these participants — 151,209 women and 36,173 men — based on a four-yearly questionnaire. The result: researchers found that weekly consumption of three servings of apples reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes among the participants by 7%.

4. Reduce the risk of strokes

Eating apples regularly can reduce the risks of thrombotic stroke (when a blood clot blocks an artery that takes blood to the brain).

From 1967-1994, researchers at the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland, followed-up with 9,208 Finnish men and women to study the effect of antioxidant flavonoid quercetin (found in apples) on cerebrovascular diseases (diseases of blood vessels in the brain).

Though the researchers couldn’t pinpoint the reason (quercetin wasn’t it), they did find that apples reduced instances of brain stroke in the participants.

5. Reduce the risk of lung cancer

A recent meta-analysis of 22 control studies and 21 cohort studies by researchers from the University of Perugia, Italy, found that apples significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer.

They also found that while case-control studies (where the participants are split into two groups, and only one group gets the medicine, or in this case, apples) reported that eating apples can reduce the risk of colorectal or bowel cancer and “overall digestive tract cancers”, the cohort studies showed no effect of apples on these cancers.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, read our article on Apple: Benefits, Calories, Uses.

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