An Apple A Day?

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If you only look at the nutrition facts of an apple, you may be underwhelmed. While apples are a very good source of fiber (including both soluble and insoluble pectin) and vitamin C, they do not contain significant amounts of other vitamins and minerals. However, what apples lack in those micronutrients, they more than makes up for in their fat-fighting phytonutrient content, including the following:

 

  • Flavonols, including quercetin
  • Catechins, including epicatechin (which are also found in tea)
  • Anthocyanins (which are also found in berries)
  • Chlorogenic acid (which is also found in coffee)
  • Phloridizin and more

 

Research on the polyphenols in apples has demonstrated some interesting benefits “carb blocking” and glycemic control features:

  • Quercetin has been shown to inhibit digestive enzymes like alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase, which are responsible for breaking down carbohydrates into absorbable sugars. Quercetin has been shown to be effective at reducing blood sugar after a meal.
  • The polyphenols, phenolic acids, and tannins in apples have been shown to reduce the absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine.
  • Apple polyphenols have also been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity and efficiency, promoting the uptake of carbohydrates into muscle cells to be stored as energy.

In addition, the polyphenols in apples have been shown to confer significant gut health benefits. In lab animals, scientists have found that consumption of polyphenol-rich apples resulted in beneficial changes in the gut microbiota and improvements in immune system function.

Studies show that frequent apple consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, specific cancers, and diabetes. Intervention studies suggest that apple intake may positively affect fat metabolism, weight management, vascular function, and inflammation.

When it comes to the battle of the bulge, one of the more important factors to consider is satiety, which refers to feelings of fullness and satisfaction after a meal. Thus, when trying to control calories (i.e., negative energy balance), it’s important to choose foods that have a high satiety value.

In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Susanna Holt and her team at the University of Sydney set out to establish a satiety index of common foods. In the study, the researchers fed folks fixed-calorie portions of thirty-eight different foods and recorded levels of hunger following each. Guess what? Apples ranked amongst the top five foods tested.

In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Susanna Holt and her team at the University of Sydney set out to establish a satiety index of common foods. In the study, the researchers fed folks fixed-calorie portions of thirty-eight different foods and recorded levels of hunger following each. Guess what? Apples ranked amongst the top five foods tested.

According to the Environmental Working Group, conventional apples top the list of the most pesticide-contaminated produce. With all of that in mind, apples can indeed be a healthy component of a satiating nutrition plan, but because many of the health-promoting nutrients are in the skin of the apple, it may be wise to opt for organic when possible.

Get creative with apples. Sure, you can eat them whole by themselves, but try some of these options:

  • Add diced apples to salads
  • Create a chutney with diced apples, walnuts, and maple syrup to serve with pork
  • Try roasted apple chips
  • Make “apple sandwiches” with apple circles (core removed) and almond butter
  • Add diced apples to yogurt, cottage cheese, or oatmeal

So, make sure you grab some apples the next time you get a chance.

FROM: Fit To Tee

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