We’ve all heard the old proverb, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, and there’s certainly some truth to it.
Traditional medicine called apples ‘the body’s broom’ because the fruit was considered to have a cleansing action and this is now supported by a modern understanding of fibre, fruit flavonoids and antioxidants.
Eating apples can help to lower cholesterol, especially the bad cholesterol (LDL), and pectin, a soluble fibre in apples, is thought to play a key role in this.
Interestingly, the extracted pectin powder has less effect than eating whole apples, which could mean there may be other properties in the fruit that help pectin to achieve the best possible result.
Apples help to ease constipation, probably because of the specific combination of fruit acid and the types of fibre they contain.
The fruit’s traditional use in treating diarrhoea can be explained by the liquid-gelling action of pectin, and the antiviral properties apples contain.
This delicious fruit’s abilities to aid digestion and cleanse the body has made it popular in traditional medicine for treating gout, rheumatism, and arthritis.
Tests of apple juice have shown that the skin, pulp and juice contain constituents that destroyed Coxsackie and polio viruses. When tested, fresh apple juice and pectin showed some anti-cancer action.
Apples contain potassium, vitamins C and E, and some fibre.
How to use Apples
There’s no limit to how many apples you should eat, however you won’t gain any further benefits if you eat more than 2 to 3 a day. To obtain the best health benefits, eat them unpeeled, raw or lightly cooked. The old granny smith apple or any sharp, green apple usually contain more vitamin C than the sweeter varieties.
Coating peeled apples with a little citrus juice will help prevent them turning brown.
Apples that aren’t organic, should be scrubbed well with warm, soapy water, and rinsed. Wrap clean apples in a tea towel or similar and keep in the fridge.
There’s a probability that apple juice that has turned brown may encourage carcinogenic compounds.
Diarrhoea and tooth decay could be a problem if large amounts of apple juice are consumed, especially in children.