There are many reasons to get more antioxidants into your diet. These healthy nutrients have been shown to have a number of benefits for human health and may fight off damaging free radicals that get into the body as a result of exposure to everyday pollutants. Antioxidants such as vitamin C, resveratrol and lycopene can be found in a number of fruits and vegetables, which is why you should be sure to eat a balanced diet.
One great source of antioxidants is an apple. This fruit contains polyphenols, which are a potent antioxidant. According to a recent study from researchers at Ohio State University, these nutrients may be able to boost heart health, adding some truth to the old adage that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."
More powerful than other antioxidants
The scientists found that apples appear to have a protective effect on the arteries. Furthermore, the researchers tested other antioxidants that came from curcumin, green tea and tomato extract, and found that they were unable to offer the same benefits as the apples. Also, taking a supplement containing these antioxidants wasn't as effective as simply eating an apple.
"We think the polyphenols account for a lot of the effect from apples, but we did try to isolate just the polyphenols, using about what you'd get from an apple a day," said lead researcher Robert DiSilvestro, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University. "We found the polyphenol extract did register a measurable effect, but not as strong as the straight apple."
Other benefits of apples
The benefits of apples don't stop at potentially helping your cardiovascular health. According to Eating Well Magazine, the apple is packed with fiber, and the average-sized fruit contains less than 100 calories. This makes it a delicious and nutritious snack. Furthermore, apples are a good source of vitamin C.
Also, studies have shown that apples may be able to aid in weight management. Researchers from Florida State University said that this benefit may be due to a fiber in apples called pectin.
Shape Magazine adds that consuming five or more apples a week has been associated with increased lung function, due to yet another antioxidant in the fruit called quercetin.
Finally, this fruit may boost brain health by improving your memory skills, according to Shape.
So the next time you feel a hankering for an afternoon snack, consider reaching for an apple.