An apple a day can keep the doctor away

Apples can combat cancer, and have other health benefits as well. (AP Photo)

You have likely heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” or at bay at least. But how much truth is actually associated with this idiom?

More truth than most would think. A good old apple has much more to offer than its peers (…or should I say pears?). Over time, it has proved to be the reigning king of fruits in terms of the plethora of nutritional benefits it brings to the table. The apple is often overlooked in its simplicity — drinks such as Snapple often boast fancy fruits on their label that one has never heard of to draw your attention. There’s nothing that mangosteen or noni can supplement your body with that a readily available apple can’t.

Apples kill two birds with one stone when it comes to cholesterol. They contain phenol, which reduces LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol). In fact, eating an apple a day has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 8-11 percent. Eat two and this number becomes 16 percent.

Apples are brain food. They contain quercetin along with phytonutrients. These substances protect the brain from free radicals that have been correlated to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Apples can combat cancer. Consuming one of these a day reduces the risk of breast cancer by 17 percent; take three and you’re up to 39 percent. The skin of apples alone can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 43 percent and the risk of liver cancer by 57 percent. In addition, those who consume apples on a daily basis have a 50 percent less chance of developing lung cancer. Research done by Cornell University toxicologist Rui Hai Liu showed that apples prevented the growth of tumors.

Apples are good for the heart — the more you eat, the longer you live. Because they contain flavonoid, apples can prevent not only coronary heart disease but cardiovascular disease as well. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, so make apples a daily must. And forgive Eve — she was only engaging in natural selection.

Apples also promote oral health. Specifically, the juice in apples kills up to 80 percent of the bacteria that causes tooth decay. If you’re not a big fan of dentists, apples are the fruit for you.

Just remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away … but if the doctor (or dentist) is cute, screw the fruit.