TrendWire, November 4, 2008

TrendWire, November 4, 2008

Food & Drink

TrendWire, November 4, 2008


The Food Channel Trendwire
November 4, 2008 • Volume 22, Number 17 •

Eating Apples May Keep You from Becoming, Well, an Apple



For years, experts have been extolling the health dangers associated with carrying extra weight around the waist (a body type commonly referred to as an “apple”). While two people may weigh the same, an “apple” is at greater risk for life-threatening health problems (such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome [a condition characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol levels and excess belly fat], and diabetes) than a “pear” (a person who carries extra weight around the hips and thighs). Some experts believe a waistline measurement is a much better gauge than the scale for potential health risks.


So, it’s no surprise that the latest apple research is causing a bit of a stir in the health community. A nationwide research study found that those who ate apples on a regular basis were 21 percent less likely to have a large waist. The study also found that this same group was 27 percent less likely to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The apple skin alone provides two to six times the antioxidant activity of the apple flesh. In particular, the beneficial antioxidant quercetin is found only in the apple skin.

Ongoing research in the U.S. and in other countries is revealing many other health benefits of apples, including these:

  • Bone protection in postmenopausal women. French researchers discovered the flavanoid called phloridzin, found only in apples, may protect postmenopausal women from osteoporosis by increasing bone density.
  • Alzheimer’s prevention. A Cornell University study found that the quercetin in apple skin may protect brain cells from the kind of free-radical damage that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Lower “bad” cholesterol. The soluble fiber in apples, pectin, inhibits the liver’s ability to produce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. In fact, people who eat two apples per day may lower their LDL cholesterol by as much as 16 percent.
  • Cancer prevention. Research shows that eating multiple apples a day can minimize your risk of several kinds of cancer, including lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and liver cancer.
  • Reduce plaque formation in arteries. Specific antioxidants in apples seem to reduce the tendency for LDL cholesterol to burst and form plaque blobs on arterial walls.
  • Diabetes management. The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body, which lowers the body’s need for insulin and may help naturally stabilize blood sugar levels. Fructose, the natural sugar in apples, is broken down slowly, adding to its stabilizing effect.
  • Reduce histamine responses and inflammation. The antioxidant quercetin is credited with reducing histamine responses associated with allergies such as hay fever, and inflammation associated with arthritis.
  • Management of asthma symptoms. Preliminary research indicates that patients eating two or more apples daily are seeing improvements in their asthma symptoms and overall lung function.
  • Prevention of kidney stones. Drinking 1/2 liter of apple juice a day seems to increase the pH level in urine, inhibiting the growth of kidney stones.
  • Link to natural sun protection. Braeburn apples, in particular, seem to help the body boost its own natural SPF (sun protection factor). While an apple is definitely not a substitute for sunscreen, why not toss one in your beach bag anyway?

Researchers have found distinct differences in total phenolic and flavanoid content among different apple varieties. The highest content for apples commonly consumed in the US is found in Fuji apples. In the most recent studies, investigators found that the combination of apple pectin and apple phenols lowered cholesterol and triglycerides to a much greater extent than either apple pectin or phenols alone. Experts continue to recommend that people eat whole apples rather than drink juice or take juice extract or fiber supplements, because the whole fruit exhibits synergistic benefits not available with the individual components. The bottom line is that people can get the most benefit for their nutrition by consuming the whole fruit, skin and all, rather than trying to isolate specific nutrients. If you do choose juice instead of whole apples, look for “cloudy” or unfiltered juice, which contains 4 times the antioxidants of clear apple juice.


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