Monday, August 30, 2010

Fruit of the Week: Apple

Sources: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, http://www.healthdiaries.com

The apple can be traced back to the Romans and Egyptians who introduced them to Britain and finally to America.

Selection
Choose apples that are firm with no soft spots. Avoid apples that are discolored for their variety.

Storage
Keep apples in plastic bags in the refrigerator after purchasing to prevent further ripening. Apples should keep up to six weeks. However, check apples often and remove any apples that begin to decay or the others will do the same.

Preparation
Wash apples well with soap and rinse with water. Prepare apple dishes just before serving to minimize browning (oxidation). Protect cut apples from oxidation by dipping them into a solution of one part citrus juice and three parts water.

We're told that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what exactly are the health benefits of apples? Here are ten reasons to heed the advice of that old proverb.
- Bone Protection: French researchers found that a flavanoid called phloridzin that is found only in apples may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density. Boron, another ingredient in apples, also strengthens bones.
- Asthma Help: One recent study shows that children with asthma who drank apple juice on a daily basis suffered from less wheezing than children who drank apple juice only once per month.
- Alzheimer's Prevention: A study on mice at Cornell University found that the quercetin in apples may protect brain cells from the kind of free radical damage that may lead to Alzheimer's disease.
- Lower Cholesterol: The pectin in apples lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol. People who eat two apples per day may lower their cholesterol by as much as 16 percent.
- Lung Cancer Prevention: Researchers believe that the high levels of the flavonoids quercetin and naringin in apples lower risk of developing lung cancer.
- Breast Cancer Prevention: A Cornell University study found that rats who ate one apple per day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17 percent. Rats fed three apples per day reduced their risk by 39 percent and those fed six apples per day reduced their risk by 44 percent.
- Colon Cancer Prevention: One study found that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 43 percent lower risk of colon cancer. Other research shows that the pectin in apples reduces the risk of colon cancer and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract.
- Liver Cancer Prevention: Research found that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 57 percent lower risk of liver cancer.
- Diabetes Management: The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body's need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes.
- Weight Loss: A Brazilian study found that women who ate three apples or pears per day lost more weight while dieting than women who did not eat fruit while dieting.

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