Apples are some of the most popular and delicious fruits on the planet, and there is nothing like biting into a bright, red, juicy apple to quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger, all the while boosting your health in a major way. The apple is a pomaceous fruit whose tree belongs to the Rosaceae family, and it has the scientific name of Malus domestica. Its ancestor is the Malus sieversii, which still grows wild in numerous parts of Central Asia. They have been cultivated for thousands of years throughout Asia and Europe, and they make appearances in the cultural history of many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Nordic tribes. It only made its way to the Americas with European colonizers, but quickly “took root” and is now grown extensively in appropriate regions of the world.
There are more than 7,500 varieties of this delicious fruit, and it comes in a variety of colours, including red, yellow, and green. The skin of apples is thin, but sturdy, and the inner flesh is thick and juicy, and it softens as it ripens. The inner core holds the seeds, which are hard and difficult to digest. The nutrients are in the flesh and the skin, which is a rich source of anthocyanins and various tannins that give it its colour. It’s true what they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
Apples can be eaten raw right off the tree or in a variety of dishes such as fruit salads and custards. Apple juice is also a common drink throughout the world, and it is also included in many desserts. Apples can be baked, minced, mashed, frozen, or even dried into chips as a healthy, sweet snack. In 2010, the complete genome of the apple was decoded, which has led to an increase in research and understanding of why apples are so beneficial for our health, and what specific components are responsible for the boost! Let’s take a look at some of those essential components of one of the world’s favorite and healthiest fruits!
Apples satisfy hunger for few calories so it’s not surprising that they can be part of a healthy diet that promotes weight loss. And in a recent study, dried apples also helped participants lose some weight. Women who ate a cup of dried apples daily for a year lost some weight and lowered their cholesterol and heart disease markers. Florida State University researchers think apples’ antioxidants and pectin (a type of fiber) are responsible for the benefits—and think that fresh apples would be even more effective.
Apples, being rich in fiber, help in the digestive process. Regular consumption of apples ensures smooth bowel movements and helps in preventing constipation and various stomach disorders. Fiber is an important part of any diet. It adds bulk to the stool and helps food pass through the digestive tract smoothly. Furthermore, it stimulates peristaltic motion so the muscles contract appropriately and move food along. Finally, it stimulates the release of gastric and digestive juices to ensure efficient uptake of nutrients, while simultaneously scraping excess cholesterol out of your veins and arteries to ensure proper heart health and reduce chances of atherosclerosis.
Apples are useful in treating anaemia since apples are a rich source of iron. Anemia is a deficiency of haemoglobin in the blood, which can be fixed by increasing your intake of iron, which is an integral part in the metabolism of red blood cells. By increasing the amount of red blood cells in the body, you not only prevent anaemia but also ensure proper oxygenation of essential organ systems to keep them functioning properly.
Blood sugar control is essential for people who suffer from diabetes, and the polyphenols in apples have been directly linked to reducing the uptake of carbohydrates by the body. This, in turn, reduces the fluctuation of blood sugar levels that occur in the bloodstream, an important factor for helping to keep diabetes in check. It doesn’t stop there, however. The polyphenols also lower glucose absorption in our digestive tract, and they stimulate the release of insulin from our pancreas, which is necessary to keep blood sugar levels in check. Finally, the polyphenols stimulate the insulin receptors on cells throughout our body, which speeds up the removal of sugar from our bloodstream and gets it to our cells, which need it for metabolism and proper organ function. Apples are one of the best all round foods for improving the health of people suffering from diabetes.
Eating apples helps in cleaning both the teeth and gums. Furthermore, it reduces the incidence of cavities in the teeth. When you eat apples, the fiber in it cleanses the teeth, while the antibacterial properties of the fruit keep bacteria and viruses from infecting the body. Eating apples also stimulates the secretion of saliva, which is an alkalinic compound, meaning that it further reduces the ability of bacteria to multiply and grow in your mouth.
By: Umaru Maryam Hadejia