Apples: Crispy Cures

Crisp. Crunchy. Sweet. This burst of juice spurting from a fresh apple brings a mouthful of health-giving nutrients that may help prevent cancer, reduce cholesterol levels and possibly gallstones.

How? The real benefit of apples may be that they put foods that contain cancer-causing agents on a fast track, says Harris Clearfield, director of gastroenterology at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. “Apples increase the stool’s transit through your colon,” he explains. As a result, “the carcinogens in food have less contact time with your colon, which-in susceptible people-means less chance of getting cancer.”

Researchers found that those who regularly ate a lot of apples had one-third the risk of developing colon cancer and 76 percent less risk of developing rectal cancer, as compared to those who never ate apples. Only whole, raw apples had a protective effect, reported the scientists. Canned or stewed fruit did not.

Drop Your Cholesterol by 15 Points

Researchers have also discovered that apple fiber can reduce cholesterol levels by 15 points. People who ate two or three apples a day lowered their cholesterol levels an average of 7 percent. It’s also easy to get similar amounts of fiber by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains each day.

Cut Your Risk of Gallstones

Researchers at Paul-Sabatier University in France used hamsters to study how an apple-rich diet can affect the body’s digestive organs and fluids.

They discovered two amazing things: One, that animals with a high cholesterol level had significantly damaged intestines. And, two, after the hamsters ate an apple-rich diet for a couple of months, the damaged intestines actually returned to normal.

Although more studies are needed to confirm this effect, it may be that a diet rich in apples can actually prevent gallstones-in people as well as hamsters.

Fortunately for our health, we have fallen in love with apples. Between apples, applesauce and apple juice, we each eat around 40 pounds of apples a year.

Which is the most healthful product? ”A fresh apple”, answers apple expert Mark McLellan, professor of food science in New York. “Everything ‘s there. When you make applesauce, you remove the skin, the core and the seeds, and that causes a loss of cellulose fiber. When you make juice, you usually remove not only the cellulose fiber in the skin but most of the pectin fiber that’s found in the pulp as well. And that’s a significant loss of dietary fiber,” he says.

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