An Apple A Day…

In honor of fall, I wanted to make my next blog all about the health benefits of apples. As it turns out, the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may very well be true. Check out some of the amazing health benefits apples have:

1. Avoid Alzheimer’s
A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

2. Curb all sorts of cancers
Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 percent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

3. Decrease your risk of diabetes
Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fiber, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

4. Reduce cholesterol
The soluble fiber found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

5. Get a healthier heart
An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fiber intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

Want a great new way to enjoy apples? They this delicious dessert recipe:
Baked Apples with Currants
4 medium-size baking apples (e.g. Rome Beauty, Cortland, or Granny Smith)
1/2 cup bran cereal
2 tbsp currants
1 tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
4 tsp brown sugar
4 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350ºF. With an apple corer, a melon baller, or a thin, sharp knife, scoop out all but the bottom 1/2 inch of each apple core; with a vegetable peeler, peel a 1/2 inch-wide strip around the top of the cavity.

Stand the apples in a shallow baking dish just large enough to accommodate all of them in a single layer. In a small bowl, combine the cereal, currants, and pecans if desired.

Spoon 1/4 of the mixture into the cavity of each apple, then sprinkle with sugar.
Drizzle the syrup over the apples and bake for 40 or 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.

Makes 4 servings.

Let me know what you think of this recipe on twitter @DietExpertNJ

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