We all have our favorite signs of fall – that nip in the air, changing leaf color, and of course crunchy, munchy new-crop apples!
Apple harvest is our favorite time of year here at OSF. We’re very much looking forward to that future fall when we can bring you Arctic® apples. In the meantime, we are pleased to share what we learned this summer about apple health benefits from Dianne Hyson, Ph.D., R.D., North America’s leading expert on the subject. Dr. Hyson, of California State University at Sacramento, recently provided an update at a U.S. Apple Association conference that we attended. She reported:
- A healthy diet can play a key role in reducing the top three causes of death in the United States: heart disease, malignant tumors (i.e., cancer), and cerebrovascular diseases (such as stroke).
- Apples contain numerous health-promoting components, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and other antioxidant phytochemicals.
- Apples affect numerous bodily processes at a cellular level, including but not limited to cell oxidation, proliferation, inflammation and aggregation. For example, apples may prevent cancer cells from initiating and spreading (aka proliferation), and even speed their death (aka apoptosis). Apples may also help protect against heart attacks by keeping platelets from plugging arteries (aka aggregation).
- Initial studies to date suggest that eating apples and/or drinking apple juice may protect against a range of cancers and heart disease, promote lung function/protect against some lung diseases, and reduce the cognition-damaging effects of oxidation on the brain (such as is associated with Alzheimers).
Her presentation was packed with so many explanations of studies that we can’t possibly detail all of them here. As one example, she noted a U.S. animal study finding that eating apples protected mice against the damaging effects on the brain of oxidation, which can contribute to Alzheimers.
While there are many areas she’d like to see further researched, Dr. Hyson is particularly intrigued by the antioxidant effects on the body of apples and apple products; she noted the range of phenolic compounds found in apples. And she stresses we should get our nutrients from whole foods rather than dietary supplements and extracts, to get the synergistic effects of all of the good things found in foods.
So today’s researchers are providing modern proof to that ages-old adage about an apple a day! At the home of the Arctic® apple, we are particularly excited about the potential of apples’ phytonutrients. As if we needed more reasons to eat more of the fruit that we already love!
P.S. Here are a few fun recipes to help you celebrate this fall with apples: