Food

 

Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted October 10, 2010

Published in Food

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Why Apples Really Are Your Best Medicine

Read More: antioxidants, apples, phytochemicals, whole foods

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Nutrition and Health Thrive with An Apple a Day

So many nutrition myths are untrue, even downright harmful. Yet the saying "an apple basket_small.jpgapple a day keeps the doctor away" has important clues to staying healthy and thin. This popular fruit earns its place as a health symbol. When you understand why, you have the information to maximize the benefits to you.

All whole plant foods are rich in beneficial, nutritionally active substances called phytochemicals. Plants make up to 100,000 kinds of these substances to protect themselves from insects, infections, the strong energy in sunlight, and other threats.

Phytochemicals include the substances that determine the appealing colors, delightful aromas, and delicious flavors of whole plant foods. In apples, over 250 kinds of phytochemicals determine the fragrance alone. Vitamins are not the same thing as phytochemicals. While apples are a good source of vitamin C, in whole apples this vitamin accounts for only .4% of the fruit's antioxidant activity. The vast majority of the health-promoting effects are from phytochemicals.

These protective substances are densest in the skin of the apple. This makes sense when you remember that the skin must protect the fruit and seeds from natural forces that could cause premature decay, thus preventing the seed from growing into a new tree.

You are best off eating the whole apple, not its more processed applesauce or juice form. Since the skin is highest in phytochemicals,

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