We’ve all been told that we should eat our fruits and vegetables, since we were wee ones, but I am going to talk about the benefits of apples and oranges today. I’m sharing this info with you in hopes that instead of craving a dessert full of sugar and fats you will go for a nice, juicy apple or a sweet orange! These fruits will help hold off that sugar craving, without risking the terrible sugar crash, and provide essential vitamins our body needs, especially in the heat of the summer, not to mention all the possibilities of disease prevention.
From Wikipedia: The proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, addressing the health effects of the fruit, dates from 19th century Wales. Preliminary research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Apple peels contain ursolic acid which, in rat studies, increases skeletal muscle and brown fat, and decreases white fat, obesity, glucose intolerance, and fatty liver disease. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical apple serving weighs 242 grams and contains 126 calories with significant dietary fiber and vitamin C content. Apple peels are a source of various phytochemicals with unknown nutritional value and possible antioxidant activity in vitro. The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2. Apple juice concentrate has been found in mice to increase the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Other studies have shown an “alleviation of oxidative damage and cognitive decline” in mice after the administration of apple juice. Fruit flies fed an apple extract lived 10% longer than other flies fed a normal diet.
Apples also have polyphenols that act as antioxidants. Since most of the polyphenols in apples function as antioxidants, it’s not surprising to see so many health benefit studies focusing on the antioxidant benefits from apple. Particularly strong is the ability of apples to decrease oxidation of cell membrane fats. This benefit is especially important in our cardiovascular system since oxidation of fat (called lipid peroxidation) in the membranes of cells that line our blood vessels is a primary risk factor for clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and other cardiovascular problems. Apples’ strong antioxidant benefits are also related to their ability to lower risk of asthma in numerous studies, and their ability to lower risk of lung cancer. In addition to their unusual polyphenol composition, apples also provides us with about 8 milligrams of vitamin C. While that amount is not a lot, it’s still important, especially since the recycling of vitamin C in our body depends on the presence of flavonoids and apples do an amazing job of providing us with those flavonoids. Apples also help with cardiovascular health. Although some preliminary results show apple benefits for several different cancer types (especially colon cancer and breast cancer), it’s the area of lung cancer benefits that stand out in the apple research. There are numerous studies involving vegetable/fruit intake and risk of lung cancer. The number of subjects in these studies numbers into the high hundreds of thousands. Although many research studies show an impressive ability of overall fruit and/or vegetable intake to lower lung cancer risk, very few individual fruits show up as protective against lung cancer. Except apples! It’s really quite remarkable how apples have been one of the few fruits to demonstrate this unique relationship with lung cancer risk reduction. (Interestingly, this same phenomenon has to some extent also been present in research on asthma.) Researchers aren’t certain why apples are so closely associated with reduction of lung cancer risk. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits are definitely involved here, but they don’t fully explain why apples are such a standout in this health benefit area. We look forward to future research that will help shed light on this unique capacity in apples.
Oranges also have many health benefits. Helps Prevent Cancer Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids, proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer including that of the skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Prevents Kidney Diseases Drinking orange juice regularly prevents kidney diseases and reduces the risk of kidney stones. Note: drink juice in moderate amounts. The high sugar content of fruit juices can cause tooth decay and the high acid content can wear away enamel if consumed in excess. Reduces Risk of Liver Cancer According to two studies in Japan eating mandarin oranges reduces liver cancer. This may be due in part to vitamin A compounds known as carotenoids. Lowers Cholesterol Since they’re full of soluble fiber, oranges are helpful in lowering cholesterol. Boosts Heart Health Oranges are full of potassium, an electrolyte mineral is responsible for helping the heart function well. When potassium levels get too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia. Lowers Risk of Disease Oranges are full of vitamin C which protects cells by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals cause chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease. Fights Against Viral Infections Studies show that the abundance of polyphenols in oranges protects against viral infections. Relieves Constipation Oranges are full of dietary fiber which stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation. Helps Create Good Vision Oranges are rich in carotenoid compounds which are converted to vitamin A and help prevent macular degeneration. Regulates High Blood Pressure The flavonoid hesperidin found in oranges helps regulate high blood pressure and the magnesium in oranges helps maintain blood pressure. Protects Skin Oranges are full of beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant protecting the cells from being damage which also protects the skin from free radicals and prevents the signs of aging. Oranges Alkalize the Body Although oranges are acidic before you digest them, they contain many alkaline minerals that help to balance out the body after they are digested. In this respect, they are similar to lemons which are one of the most alkaline foods available. Provides Smart Carbs Oranges like all fruits have simple sugars in them, but the orange has a glycemic index of 40. Anything under 55 is considered low. This means as long as you don’t eat a lot of oranges at one time, they won’t spike your blood sugar and cause problems with insulin or weight gain.
As you can see, eating apples and oranges on a regular basis is good for your health. Eating both can reduce your risk of many diseases and also help you as you lose weight! Since I have a lot of family history of multiple cancers I am trying to do whatever I can to reduce my risk of it, so I plan to eat more of both now that all of this information is in front of me!!