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An Apple a Day – Pretty Good Advice

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – an adage everybody knows. And, while it may be a bit of an overstatement, there is no question that apples pack a big nutrition punch with some special benefits for type 2 diabetes.

If you only look at the “standard” measures of nutrition, apples may not get your attention. An apple contains only about 12% of the vitamin C in an orange, and half the fiber as a cup of raspberries. And a medium apple is, I hope you already know, a standard measure for one “carb choice”, or 15 grams of carbohydrate. But, apples also contain and impressive variety of compounds called polyphenols as well as the soluble fiber pectin. That’s where the apple story gets interesting.

Most apple polyphenols function as antioxidants, and apples seems especially effective at preventing the oxidation of blood fats (triglycerides), a primary risk factor for artery-clogging atherosclerosis. These powerful antioxidants also seem to reduce general inflammation, and reduce the levels of a substance called C-reactive protein. Additionally, studies show that polyphenols and pectin work together to reduce total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol with regular consumption of apples. Apple consumption also appears to reduce the risk of some cancers, especially lung cancer, and are associated with a decreased risk for asthma too.

Recent research shows that the polyphenol content of apples also helps manage blood sugar levels by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates, lowering the rate of glucose absorption in the digestive tract, increasing insulin secretion from pancreatic cells, and activating insulin receptors on muscle cells (increasing insulin sensitivity). Apples can also reduce appetite, helping with weight loss.

Apples may not keep the doctor away, but there are some compelling reasons to make an apple part of your day just the same. To get the full nutritional benefits, go for the whole fruits rather than apple juice or applesauce. Don’t forget to account for the carbohydrates in an apple, and don’t forget to notice that apples are another excellent reason to keep healthy carbohydrates in your diet.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.