Food in the Spotlight

Apples, Your Health and the Mediterranean Diet

According to the Mediterranean dietary guidelines, at least 50% of all your calorie requirements should come from plant-based foods. As such, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts should comprise the bulk of your daily diet.

applesAre you aware that eating several apples a day can really be that good for you? Perhaps you have all heard about the old saying that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, right? While you may think that this is just a good, old-fashioned proverb, recent studies prove that there is a lot of truth in it. Apples are indeed a powerhouse of good nutrition, especially when you are eating it as a part of a healthy Mediterranean diet.

While almost all diets recommend the inclusion of several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to your daily diet, the Mediterranean diet goes a notch further and recommends that you make plant-based foods the center around which all your meals and snacks should revolve. According to the Mediterranean dietary guidelines, at least 50% of all your calorie requirements should come from plant-based foods. As such, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts should comprise the bulk of your daily diet.

If you are ready to know the reasons why you should seriously consider adding apples to your Mediterranean diet, let’s get the ball rolling.

Nutritional Profile of Apples

Why should you eat your apples? Well, here’s why. Apples contain chemical compounds called polyphenols which are essential to good health. They act as powerful antioxidants to inhibit the damaging effects of oxidative stress – one of the known major precursors of most diseases affecting modern man. Apples also contain significant amounts of dietary fiber (particularly pectin) and vitamin C along with a number of other vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids as well.

Health Benefits of Apples

Did you know that eating your apples can help you maintain better health? Here are some interesting facts you definitely want to know:

Eating apples regularly promotes better heart health. According to a study published in the journal Life Sciences in 1999, eating apples on a regular basis helps prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol, which in turns reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Another research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2000 indicated that eating at least two apples or about 12 ounces of 100% pure apple juice per day significantly slows down the cholesterol oxidation process. This gives the body enough time to eliminate excess cholesterol before it builds up in the body in the form of arterial plaque.

In 2004, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that consuming about 10 grams of fiber on a daily basis (equivalent to about two apples) reduces the risk of heart disease by up to 14%. Well, this is definitely some good news considering the fact that CVD remains to be the leading cause of death in the US.

It promotes better lung health. According to the results of a research conducted by Australian experts on more than 1,600 young adults between the ages 20 and 44, those who regularly consume apples have the lowest risk of asthma. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2003.) Similarly, experts in the UK observed that children born from mothers who regularly included apples in their pregnancy diets are less likely to experience symptoms of asthma. This particular report was published in the March 2007 issue of the journal Thorax.

It promotes better brain health. Experts at the University of Massachusetts concluded that there seems to be a connection between the regular consumption of apples (in its whole food and pure juice forms) and mental acuity. They observed that the nutrients found in apples prevent oxidative damage in the brain thereby providing ample protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other such age-related brain disorders. So, if you want to grow old without literally losing your mind, you may want to start eating apples regularly.

Are you impressed with all the good things you’ve read so far? Well, there are still a few good things apples can do for your health. We’ll discuss them next time so please keep checking this page for more!

Start eating more apples today!

Here’s to a better health,
Ray Baker