By David Scott Kipers
I heard that all my life, did you? Turns out, it probably has a lot of truth behind it. So much so that I have embarked on a six month test to see what impact an apple a day will have on my life. Besides the cliché, two things provided impetus to this test, a chance encounter and one bad number.
The bad number is one of my cholesterol scores. I have great HDL and my ratio is healthy, but the LDL number turned out to be above normal at 105. It was certainly nothing to worry about but it gives me something to play with. A study I ran across out of Florida State University found that after six months of eating an apple each day, participants lowered their LDL an average of 23%. As a side effect, their HDL levels (the good stuff) increased by 4%. When you listen to medicine commercial side effects on the TV, a positive side effect is wonderful news. I am two weeks into my test period.
The chance encounter was with a super senior hiker. About six weeks ago, I decided to try something different. Almost every weekend morning you will find me out in the wilderness on my beloved mountain bike. Her name is Red Sonja and I love her more than any other thing. Enough about her; I happened across a “meet up” hike starting in 20 minutes at a location 10 minutes away from my house. Being agile, flexible and open to new experiences is a core value in staying young, so I grabbed my boots and headed out the door. I wound up going on a six mile hike on a lovely dirt road behind some homes and overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Laguna. A nice side attraction was a curated collection of “faerie homes” along the trail. You can see one of the pictures here at my instagram account. Back to the tale, I walked and chatted with Edie who is 74. She was the event leader and was walking fast enough that keeping up with her made my calves sore for a week. One of the topics we covered was statin versus pectin. Pectin is a substance found in apples and used by my grandmother to make jam. Statin is a cholesterol drug with a market of $12.2 billion. According to the Mayo Clinic, the potential side effects of statin use are muscle pain, liver damage, type 2 diabetes and “neurological side effects.” If your doctor hasn’t told you about the potential benefits of apples and pectin, it might be because they are a part of the $12.2 billion industry.
What are the other potential benefits of an apple a day?
A ton!! According to Norse mythology, a magic apple was said to keep people young forever. Beyond that, it is probably the best thing that you can add to your diet. Here are the top ten benefits that apples will bring into your life:
- Regulate GI issues, solve IBS, diarrhea, and constipation
- 7% reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes
- Detox the liver
- Eaten 15 minutes prior to meal tends to reduce caloric intake by 15%
- Quercetin (another substance in apples) will aid in oxygen uptake in lungs promoting endurance (on weekends, I eat my daily apple just prior to mountain biking)
- Quercetin also boosts the immune system
- Reduce pancreatic, colorectal, liver, breast and lung cancer as well as asthma
- Avoid Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
- Increase production of acetylcholine, aiding in brain cell communication
- And the number one reason to eat an apple a day is that according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, eating apples will make you 27% less likely to develop metabolic syndrome (remember those things from last week that are trying to kill you?)
Bad side effects of eating apples
Don’t eat the seeds. My mom always told me not to eat the seeds because you could grow an apple tree in your stomach. Hmmmm?? I have never seen that happen, but the seeds do contain cyanide. Also, your choice of apples can make a difference as some of the tasty apples do contain a lot of sugar offsetting some of the benefits.
What apples are the best?
Organic, period!! Since the pectin is in the layer just beneath the skin, you have to eat the skin. So you don’t want all the typical pesticides you might find in the non organic varieties. I am still taste testing which apple will be my go to apple for the balance of my six month test as I prefer sweeter varieties such as Pink Ladies and Galas. I just recently bought a batch of Granny Smith apples (the best ones for health benefits) and they are so tart that I eat them more for health than enjoyment. Since One Hundred Years Young is about sustainable decisions and the mantra of consistency outweighing intensity, I will continue my quest for my perfect apple a day.
According to my research, the best apples for health benefits in reducing order are:
- Granny Smith (crisp and tart)
- Red Delicious
- Honey crisp ( just tasted these, very good)
- Braeburn (redder is better)
There you have it, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. I will update you with my test results along the way, but really don’t wait for me, start eating one now.
Happy Sunday, see ya next week
Scott HOW: Meet ups. Do a google search for meet ups. They are low key gatherings of like minded people to do something new, exciting and importantly different than your routine. This creates flexibility of mind and body. I have seen them for WordPress, photography and hiking along wit