Grandma was right....an apple a day does keep the doctor
A recent study show 100% apple juice is more nutrition than
previously thought. In fact, apple juice contains a
significant amount of phytonutrients which may help protect
against heart disease.
Researchers at Davis Medical Center have found that
antioxidants in apple juice help reduce levels of bad
cholesterol and may protect against heart disease.
Apples, long considered part of a healthy diet, contain
phenols or chemical compounds in their juice that are also
found in other fruits and vegetables. Those phenolic
compounds have been shown to act as antioxidants that help
protect the body from injury, including the injuries of
eating fat in your diet. The antioxidants work by preventing
the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad
cholesterol, and have the potential to guard the body
against chronic heart disease, the leading cause of death in
The study shows that 100 percent apple juice is a nutritious
addition to any healthy well-balanced diet.
Now apple juice has been added to the list of wine,
tea and grape juice as beverages which have antioxidant
components that may help reduce levels of LDL.
It remains unclear if and to what degree these
phytochemicals, or plant-derived compounds, are absorbed in
the body in a metabolically active form, but researchers
agree that fruits and vegetables containing these beneficial
compounds contribute to healthy diets.
Dianne Hyson, a dietitian at UC Davis Medical Center,
emphasizes that this study is another reason for instilling
a heart-healthy lifestyle in young children as they are
establishing habits that can make a big difference in their
"Children tend to like apple juice, and this new information
indicates there are more health benefits to drinking it than
we thought previously," she says. "Past studies have focused
on identifying antioxidants in other foods. These new
findings give us even more reason to emphasize apple juice
as a fruit serving."
As we age, our bodies produce harmful materials in our cells
known as oxidants; they affect arteries, skin and other
organs in the body. Gershwin compares these oxidants to
sparks that age cells and cause damage. Antioxidants, such
as those found in apple juice, are able to prevent those
sparks from hurting the body.
"We found the amount and activity of antioxidants in apple
juice to be significant," Gershwin says. "In fact, if you
went out and ordered a hamburger, drinking apple juice or
other phytonutrient-rich beverage would help to protect your
body against the fats in that burger."
He also stresses the importance of eating these healthy
nutrients as foods rather than trying to consume them in the
form of a pill. "The importance of phytonutrients comes down
to the expression, you are what you eat," he says. "And
eating something that contains all sorts of natural
substances is so much more healthy than taking a handful of
different pills which aren't digested or absorbed the way
something natural like apple juice would be. If you drink
apple juice, you're getting everything in the juice, not one
single thing that might come in a pill."
The old saying 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away,' has
more support with this new research, Gershwin says. "In
fact, we're showing that apple juice contains some good
antioxidants, excellent vitamins and good nutrition --
things that protect you from illness. If I could give just
one piece of advice to families, every time you eat fast
food, drink something like apple juice or some other
beverage containing antioxidants with that meal to help
prevent damage from the fatty foods."
Source: Adapted from Newswise