An Apple a Day
The old proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has an element of truth in it. Apples contain polyphenols – we cannot make polyphenols ourselves and must obtain them from our diet. Polyphenols are micronutrients that have many well-researched claims – antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory as well as a preventative role in degenerative disease such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Apples contain an unusual mix of polyphenols. Both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol are decreased through a regular intake of apples. The polyphenols in apples have been shown to influence our digestion and slowdown the absorption of carbohydrates. They also simulate the pancreas to secrete more insulin and so increase the flow of sugar out of the bloodstream and into our cells, thus improving the regulation of our blood sugar. In addition multiple studies have shown that apples can help reduce asthma symptoms.
Spanish research from 2013 found that participants that consumed rich- polyphenols diets (over 650mg/day) had 30% reduced mortality compared to those that consumed low amounts of polyphenols in their diet (less than 500mg/day). Polyphenols are not just found in apples, but colourful fruit and vegetables as well as some spices, seeds and grains. The richest source of polyphenols is the spice clove.
While an apple a day is probably a bit excessive – the evidence for increasing your vegetable and fruit intake – and therefore your polyphenols is very high. One of the largest studies to date, carried out by scientists at Harvard, found that people who consume 8 or more servings of vegetables a day were 30% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. At The Health Boost we love vegetables and most days we strive to eat at least 10 different varieties of vegetables a day. With some careful consideration upping your vegetables can become second nature. A typical example of a day of meals is below – which gives you your 10 portions easily.
A smoothie – see Beetroot madness – takes care of at least two portions.
A vegetable-based salad with 5 different handfuls of vegetables.
Three portions of vegetables to accompany some salmon or chicken.
Gerontol (2015)The Relationship Between Urinary Total Polyphenols and the Frailty Phenotype in a Community-Dwelling Older Population: The InCHIANTI Study. A Biol Sci Medical Science Volume 70 pp1141-1147
He, F.J., et al., Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of cohort studies. J Hum Hypertens, 2007. 21(9): pp 717-28.
Hung, H.C., et al., Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. J Natl Cancer Inst, 2004. 96(21): p. 1577-84.
Matelijan G (2015) The World’s Healthiest Foods
Zamora-Ros, Rabassa, Cherubini et al. (2013) ‘High Concentrations of a Urinary Biomarker of Polyphenol Intake Are Associated with Decreased Mortality in Older Adults’ Journal of Nutrition. Volume 143 no. 9 pp1445-1450