An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day

Is it really possible that it eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away?

Ingredient feature

An apple is a funny thing. On the one hand, it is the most humble, pedestrian fruit. On the other, it is the stuff of legend, lore and fable. Who could forget Snow White's apple-induced coma? And, of course, it was the forbidden fruit of Original Sin.

The story of apples goes back 10,000 years to the Tian Shan mountain range in China, where they likely originated before travelling along the Silk Road trading route to Europe and beyond. Today over 7,000 different varieties are growing around the globe.

An Apple a Day Keeps Cholesterol at Bay

Apples contain two distinctly different types of fibre that work together to balance cholesterol in the body. The insoluble fibre grabs onto LDL, "bad cholesterol," while the soluble fibre reduces the amount of LDL produced by the liver. The bowel regularity promoted by apple fibre also helps to sweep excess cholesterol and other waste metabolites out of the body.

We now know LDL doesn't threaten cardiac health independently; it's oxidized LDL that can wreak havoc. So, if we can stop free radical damage from happening to our cholesterol and cholesterol transport systems, we will do our arteries a world of good.

Fascinatingly, a research study at Cornell University found that the antioxidant activity of 100 grams of apples was equal to 1500mg of Vitamin C. Apples have an antioxidant complex that includes vitamin C, as well as quercetin, chlorogenic acid, polyphenols and other powerful phytochemicals.

It appears that the free radical quenching activity protecting LDL from oxidation peaks around three hours after eating an apple, and declines in, you guessed it, 24 hours.

So, one a day it is.

Best Practices

Generally, it's best to keep them in the fridge for storage, but if they are unripe and you are antsy to eat them, you can place them in a paper bag in a cool, dark, airy place, which will trap enough emitted ethylene gas to speed up their ripening. This is the same reason one rotten apple can ruin a whole fruit bowl.

Where possible, purchase organic to avoid wax and pesticides.

Damien ZielinskiA cloud-based functional medicine practitioner with a focus on mental health and insomnia
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