In the United States, heart disease is considered to be the leading cause of death, killing one person every 37 seconds, and it continues to kill more and more people all over the world. This could be frightening, but the good news is, heart disease can be prevented through diet and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight and quitting bad habits such as smoking can also help avoid cardiovascular diseases.
Eating a balanced diet with more fruits, vegetables, fish & fiber, and less saturated fat & sugar make the heart healthy as well as the rest of your cardiovascular system, and as a result, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Apples are one of the fresh fruits that provide many benefits to the body, particularly to the heart. Adding apples to your daily food intake may indeed help keep the doctor away. Apples may be low in calories but it is a good source of vitamin C. At the same time, apples are also rich in vitamin K, dietary fiber, flavonoids, and phytochemicals.
Apples and the Healthy Heart
Researchers have revealed that an increased intake of apples has been associated with lessening the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The powerful phytochemicals found in apples help in reducing the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Moreover, apples contain antioxidants that delay oxidation, thereby preventing free radical damage to the body.
Furthermore, eating apples reduce the probability of metabolic syndrome by 26%. Metabolic syndrome is a group of health conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers found that adults who consumed apples, apple juice, applesauce, and other apple products had 30% to 36% less probability of high blood pressure.
Apples contain pectin, a natural fiber that acts as an anti-oxidant against low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly known as bad cholesterol in the blood stream, thereby decreasing bad cholesterol. Studies show that munching two apples each day results in lowering a person’s cholesterol level by almost 16%.
Likewise, apples have phytostanols, naturally-occurring plant-base substances that aid in lowering blood cholesterol. In the Women’s Health Study of almost 40,000 women, researchers found out that women who consumed at least one apple a day lessened the possibility of high blood pressure by 22% as compared to women who did not eat apples.
Apples are also rich in quercetin, a phytochemical antioxidant that gives apple skin its red color. Quertecin is a powerful antioxidant that prevents blood clots, reduces free radical damage, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Apples, apple juice as well as applesauce contain various kinds of flavonoids and other phenolic compounds known for their effective antioxidant properties. These flavonoids work against LDL cholesterols and increase the good cholesterol, warding off blocked arteries and veins. Similarly, flavonoids improve the functioning of the blood vessels, so keeping the blood pressure normal.
Apples also help avoid cardiovascular diseases and cancer due to their low calorie content. Apples are also low in fat, and, sodium which stimulates water retention. Half a cup of apple contains 26 calories, effective enough to support weight loss when used in weight management programs to help keep the body slim and healthy.
Fill up on Apples
During the early winter, apples go out of season in Canada and United States Therefore apples are usually stored so that they can be sold even during winter. It has been noted that fruit and vegetables may lose their nutritional value due to prolonged storage. Unlike other fruits, apples preserve just about all of their flavonoid content for as long as five to six months if kept in cold storage. Furthermore, apple juice and applesauce contain more antioxidants than frozen apples.
Apples are very affordable. You can find many varieties of apples that range from bright green to deep red in markets and groceries. Aside from nibbling apples whole or sliced, apples can also be added in vegetable and fruit salads. Apples are also used as a special ingredient in pies, breads, cakes, and tarts. Additionally, apples can be cooked with vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.