An Apple a Day Will Keep the Doctor Away

An antioxidant called quercetin, found in red apples, may give an immunity boost to individuals under stress.

In a study conducted by David Nieman, PhD, professor at Appalachian State University, results showed that cyclists who took 1,000 milligrams of quercetin every day for five weeks were 9 times less likely to report upper respiratory illness during a two-week period following extreme exercise, even though there were no measurable differences in the immune functions of the subjects in the study.

Furthermore, the research found that the athletes taking quercetin supplements maintained higher mental alertness and reaction time when compared to the placebo group.

Apples contain a long list of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants and support our heart health. In order to take full advantage of the antioxidants in apples, it’s important to include the skin. Since the skins are also the most exposed to the environment, it is recommended that you purchase organically grown apples to minimize the apple skin’s exposure to pesticides and other contaminants.

Apples also contain about 4 grams of dietary fiber in a medium-sized, 5-ounce apple. This includes both soluble and insoluble fiber which aids in cholesterol regulation. In some studies, as little as two ounces of apple a day, which is less than half of a medium-sized apple, have been found to be helpful. That means that you would only need to eat 3 apples per week to stay healthy. Whole apples are healthier than apple juice. The current methods of juicing remove the pulp and the skin, which is where much of the nutrients are.

Look for firm fruits with rich coloring. Choose fully ripened fruit for the most antioxidants. In the US, apple season begins at the end of summer and lasts until early winter. Apples available at other times have been in cold storage or are imported from the southern hemisphere.

“An apple a day will keep the doctor away.”

Remember that prevention is much easier, cheaper and less invasive than treatment.

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