Apples are not just crunchy, sweet and satisfying. As part of a smart diet, they can help protect against serious diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Consider them your healthy secret weapon.
You’ve heard it a zillion times: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Turns out there’s more truth to that than you might think. Studies show apples have powerful health benefits, particularly when it comes to fighting chronic diseases that kill millions of people each year. Here’s a short list of how eating more apples can help keep you healthy, along with some apple-licious ways to add them to your meals.
Tip: To get the most nutrition, enjoy the whole fruit-both flesh and skin. In addition to using apples in your favorite cooked and baked dishes, be sure to eat them fresh: important antioxidants can be lost in the cooking process.
Protects Your Heart
Pictured Recipe: Apple-Cinnamon Quinoa Bowl
Multiple studies show apples are good for your ticker-in multiple ways. Their high fiber content has been shown to help improve cholesterol levels (lowering bad LDL cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol), according to researchers from Florida State University. A review of data from three major studies also found that people who ate whole fruits-including apples-were less likely to develop high blood pressure. And the Women’s Health Study showed that women who ate apples over the seven-year study period had up to a 22 percent reduced risk of heart disease. Finally, a Dutch study found that eating apples and pears was associated with a 52 percent lower risk of stroke-thanks to their high fiber and a flavonoid called quercetin.
Related: Heart-Healthy Apple Recipes
Boosts Brain Health
Pictured Recipe: Apple Spice Muffins
A group of four large studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in 2017 adds to the evidence that eating a plant-based diet may help prevent dementia. In one of the studies, Swedish researchers following 2,000 people for six years found that those who stuck to a diet called the Nordic Prudent Dietary Pattern (NPDP) had better cognitive function than people who ate more fatty, processed foods. Among other things, the NPDP calls for eating plenty of non-root vegetables, plus pears, peaches and-you guessed it-apples.
In another of the studies, healthy older adults who followed either the Mediterranean or MIND diet-both of which stress eating fresh fruits and vegetables-lowered their risk of dementia by 30 to 35 percent. The longer they followed the diet, the better their cognitive function. Experts point out that more research is needed, but the results look promising.
Helps You Lose Weight
Pictured Recipe: Apple-Crisp-Stuffed Baked Apples
One medium apple can help fill you up for under 100 calories-so it’s no surprise that apples can help with weight loss. Turns out it’s what form of apple you eat that counts. In one study, people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller and more satisfied than people who had applesauce, apple juice or no apples at all. The same study also found that starting a meal with apple slices helped people eat an average of 200 fewer calories compared to those who skipped the apple slices.
What kind of apple you eat may make a difference, too. One intriguing animal study published in Food Chemistry suggests that Granny Smith apples have fewer carbs and more nondigestible compounds-including feel-full fiber-compared to McIntosh, Golden Delicious and other common varieties. The compounds also help feed healthy gut bacteria, potentially lowering the risk of some obesity-related problems.
Related: Is Eating Fruit Bad for Weight Loss?
Lowers Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Pictured Recipe: Apple Slaw with Poppy Seed Dressing
The numbers speak for themselves. In a study of more than 38,000 healthy women, those who ate one or more apples a day had a 28 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than the non-apple eaters. And in a review of data from more than 187,000 people involved in three long-term studies, Harvard researchers found that people who ate at least two servings a week of blueberries, grapes and-yup-apples lowered their diabetes risk by 23 percent, compared to people who had one serving or less a month. Experts say the fruit’s fiber helps stabilize blood sugar. Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, also play an important role.
Related: How to Eat More Fruits & Vegetables
Pictured Recipe: Turkey-Apple-Brie Sandwiches
Apples rank second only to berries in antioxidants, making them superheroes when it comes to fighting cancer. In fact, an analysis of several Italian studies found that eating one or more servings of apples a day helped lower the risk of colorectal cancer more than eating any other fruit. Other studies in humans have found that eating apples can be helpful in preventing lung and prostate cancer. Don’t toss the peel, though-that’s where most of the cancer-fighting antioxidants are found.
Concentrate on a solid eating routine and coordinating wellness, including quality preparing, into your life.
Perhaps you’re the sort of individual who takes cover in the winter and doesn’t practice until spring is in full sprout. Or then again maybe you surrender the exercise center when warm climate hits and rather drink an excess of cold lager with your flame broiled steaks. Terrible eating routine decisions and absence of activity are more than occasional issues for some; truth be told, in excess of 62 percent of grown-ups don’t meet government practice rules — in any event 75 minutes of fiery oxygen consuming exercise every week (or 150 minutes of moderate-force vigorous work out, such as strolling) and two times per week quality building — whenever of year. What’s more, as per a study from the not-for-profit International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, most Americans aren’t even mindful of what number of calories they expend.
Embracing more advantageous propensities throughout the entire year doesn’t require having a live-in cook and fitness coach. With a bit of arranging and a couple of little changes, you can undoubtedly fuse a sound eating regimen and great wellness propensities into your day by day life. Start with these basic advances.
Exercise at the Right Time of Day
While a few examinations show that practicing between 2 p.m. what’s more, 6 p.m., when your body is heated up, is ideal, most specialists concur that whatever works with your calendar is in every case best. Mornings are perfect for those with occupied professions or social schedules who aren’t ready to fit in an exercise generally. In the event that you do practice in the first part of the day, make certain to eat a little, effectively absorbable breakfast like oats, yogurt, or natural product to refuel your body, prompts Declan Condron, CSCS, proprietor and cocreator of PumpOne, a preparation program utilized on iPods. Determinedly not a morning individual? A noon rec center session or after-work practice routine may work better for you. On the off chance that you do turn out at night, pick a quieting exercise like yoga or swimming since practicing excessively near sleep time may disturb rest.
Build up a Fitness Plan
Exploit a wellness assessment with a mentor at your rec center. Most fitness centers offer these sessions for nothing, and they can be an incredible method to commence another activity plan, regardless of whether you try to start turning out consistently, shed 10 pounds, or train for a half long distance race. Not certain what your point is? A trainercan assist you with recognizing and set a sensible objective to move in the direction of, says Condron. Having a reason will propel you to adhere to a wellness routine.
In the event that it’s in your spending limit, working out with a coach normally can be a shelter to your general wellness. A decent mentor shows you your body and how to utilize it, says Francesca Meccariello, CPT and author of Pure NYC, a New York City–based individual preparing and nourishment/way of life training organization. Your mentor ought to exhibit legitimate structure and, Meccariello includes, inspire and urge you to give a valiant effort on some random day — all through the exercise center.
Locate a Favorite Exercise
Nothing is more propelling than an action you love. To discover an activity you’ll appreciate, consider what sports you played as a child, says Condron. In the event that you loved group activities, you might be all the more a class individual, so attempt turn or yoga or pursue a grown-ups’ games alliance. More into singular sports like tennis or track? Join a social club or register for a race. On the off chance that you need to take a stab at something new yet don’t have any desire to make a money related duty, at that point lease a couple of activity DVDs as an approach to try different things with various sorts of activity or a new daily practice.
Differ Your Activities
Probably the most ideal approaches to remain inspired by wellness is to take part in a blend of exercises. In addition to the fact that this keeps things crisp, but on the other hand it’s better for you, as well. “Our bodies get exhausted rapidly with a similar exercise for a long time,” says Condron. Sooner or later, you’ll hit a level and results may even switch themselves on the off chance that you don’t switch things up.
Meccariello prescribes cardio one day, quality preparing the following, yoga or Pilates on the third, rest the fourth, at that point do it once more. “Exercise separates tissue, so rest days are significant; the off time is the point at which your body really reconstructs and fixes,” she says. On the off chance that you consolidate quality preparing and cardio around the same time, Meccariello proposes doing cardio last, so you’re not very worn out when you start lifting loads and hazard losing your structure.
Exercise With a Friend
Discover an accomplice who is at your wellness level and set dates to practice together. An ongoing Australian investigation demonstrated that gathering exercise offered social and good help and kept individuals inspired.
Practicing with a companion may likewise give you an aggressive edge and urge you to propel yourself harder, propose Condron. What’s more, you’re bound to feel responsible and adhere to your activity schedule. For additional data, read “The Benefits of Group Exercise”.
Maybe you’re the kind of person who holes up in the winter and doesn’t exercise until spring is in full bloom. Or perhaps you abandon the gym as soon as warm weather hits and instead drink too much cold beer with your grilled steaks. Poor diet choices and lack of exercise are more than seasonal problems for many; in fact, more than 62 percent of adults don’t meet government exercise guidelines — at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week (or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like walking) and twice-a-week strength-building — any time of year. And according to a survey from the nonprofit International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, most Americans aren’t even aware of how many calories they consume.
Adopting healthier habits all year-round doesn’t require having a live-in chef and personal trainer. With a little planning and a few small changes, you can easily incorporate a sound diet and good fitness habits into your daily life. Start with these simple steps.
Exercise at the Right Time of Day
While some studies show that exercising between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., when your body is warmed up, is optimal, most experts agree that whatever works with your schedule is always best. Mornings are ideal for those with busy careers or social calendars who aren’t able to fit in a workout otherwise. If you do exercise in the morning, be sure to eat a small, easily digestible breakfast like oatmeal, yogurt, or fruit to refuel your body, advises Declan Condron, CSCS, owner and cocreator of PumpOne, a training program used on iPods. Decidedly not a morning person? A lunchtime gym session or after-work exercise regimen may work better for you. If you do work out in the evening, choose a calming exercise like yoga or swimming since exercising too close to bedtime may disrupt sleep.
Develop a Fitness Plan
Take advantage of a fitness evaluation with a trainer at your gym. Most health clubs offer these sessions for free, and they can be a great way to kick off a new exercise plan, whether you aspire to begin working out regularly, lose 10 pounds, or train for a half marathon. Not sure what your aim is? A trainercan help you identify and set a realistic goal to work toward, says Condron. Having a purpose will motivate you to stick to a fitness regimen.
If it’s in your budget, working out with a trainer regularly can be a boon to your overall fitness. A good trainer teaches you about your body and how to use it, says Francesca Meccariello, CPT and founder of Pure NYC, a New York City–based personal training and nutrition/lifestyle coaching company. Your trainer should demonstrate proper form and, Meccariello adds, motivate and encourage you to do your best on any given day — in and out of the gym.
Find a Favorite Exercise
Nothing is more motivating than an activity you love. To find an exercise you’ll enjoy, think about what sports you played as a kid, says Condron. If you liked team sports, you may be more of a class person, so try spin or yoga or sign up for an adults’ sports league. More into individual sports like tennis or track? Join a tennis club or register for a race. If you want to try something new but don’t want to make a financial commitment, then rent a few exercise DVDs as a way to experiment with different types of exercise or a fresh routine.
Vary Your Activities
One of the best ways to stay interested in fitness is to participate in a mix of activities. Not only does this keep things fresh, but it’s also better for you, too. “Our bodies get bored very quickly with the same exercise day after day,” says Condron. After a while, you’ll hit a plateau and results may even reverse themselves if you don’t change it up.
Meccariello recommends cardio one day, strength training the next, yoga or Pilates on the third, rest the fourth, then do it all over again. “Exercise breaks tissue down, so rest days are very important; the off time is when your body actually rebuilds and repairs,” she says. If you combine strength training and cardio on the same day, Meccariello suggests doing cardio last, so you’re not too tired when you start lifting weights and risk losing your form.
Exercise With a Friend
Find a partner who is at your fitness level and set dates to exercise together. A recent Australian study showed that group exercise offered social and moral support and kept members motivated.
Exercising with a friend may also give you a competitive edge and encourage you to push yourself harder, suggest Condron. In addition, you’re more likely to feel accountable and stick to your exercise routine. For further information, read “The Benefits of Group Exercise”.