I love apples! I love raw apples, apple juice, baked apples, apple peal and apple sauce with my pork – hmmmm. Apples are packed full of nutrients, taste delicious and are versatile – the perfect food! They can help us to lose weight, to slow down the effects of aging, reduce cholesterol levels and can even help to prevent cancer. Eating one a day will give you tonnes of vitamins and minerals as well as a healthy dose of fibre.
An apple contains approximately 81 calories (depending on it’s size) and 3.7g of fibre. One of the nutrients that is really good for us is pectin. Pectin is found in whole apples, apple juices and is also available in supplement form. It is a soluble fibre that binds with fat in the intestines to prevent it from being absorbed into the blood stream. There are several supplements on the market which suggest it can be used to aid weight loss.Pectin is also found in other fruits and vegetables such as peaches, plums and carrots but apples are the best source. It is found in varying quantities in different types of apple and is not affected by cooking the apple.
Soluble fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, beans and oats. It is broken down in the body by the healthy bacteria found in the gut and then swells in the intestine creating bulk which is useful for the treatment of constipation and diarrhea making it excellent for digestive health in general. It can prevent fat from being absorbed into the body by binding to it and excreting it out as waste.
Because soluble fibre binds with fat it can help to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is produced naturally by the body as well as occurring in foods. There are two types of cholesterol; LDL and HDL. HDL cholesterol is healthy but too much LDL cholesterol can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Triglycerides are found naturally in the blood and high levels can lead to heart disease and stroke. Both cholesterol and triglyceride levels are influenced by diet and reducing the amount of fat absorbed from the diet can help with weight loss as well as reducing the risk of illness.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring chemicals found in fruits and vegetables. They are an anti-oxidant which can reduce the chances of cancer and heart disease as well as slowing down the effects of aging. Research has shown the weight loss benefits of pectin are increased when polyphenals are consumed at the same time. Therefore eating a whole apple or apple juice is much more effective for weight loss than consuming pectin in supplementation form.
Weight loss can occur when apples or apple juices are consumed regularly preferably daily. Swapping a high calorie sugary snack for an apple once a day will result in consuming less calories therefore also encouraging weight loss. Drinking apple juice with meals containing high amounts of cholesterol can reduce the amount of fat absorbed into the body.
All this from a great tasting snack – what more could you ask for in a food?