July 12, 2012That old Welsh saying holds more truth than you may have known! The latest news on apples focuses on ursolic acid -- also known as malol -- a compound found in the fatty layer of the apple peel that actually has an anabolic effect. Researchers from the University of Iowa studied the effect of ursolic acid on fasting mice and found that the it led to a reduction of muscle atrophy. They then conducted a second round of experiments in which mice were given as much to eat as they wanted. A control group was fed standard feed while a second group was given feed enriched with ursolic acid. During the five week five-week study, the mice eating ursolic acid-enriched feed experienced a growth of the quadriceps and overall body strength! Additional studies have shown that ursolic acid could help fight obesity by increasing the number of calories burned. In additional research, ursolic acid was found to increase muscle and brown fat mass -- even in mice fed a high-fat diet --- and a reduction of pre-diabetes and fatty liver disease. You can reap even more benefits from apples! Brain Power: A study from the University of Massachusetts fournd that apples may boost the production of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells, helping to keep your brain sharp as you age and lessen the odds of getting Alzheimer's disease. Blood Sugar Regulation: Polyphenols are a group of chemicals that are classified as antioxidants. The polyphenols in apples, along with quercetin and other flavanoids benefit digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which improves regulation of blood sugar by slowing down of carbohydrate digestion and reducing the sugar load in the bloodstream. Polyphenols in apples have been shown to lower the rate of glucose absorption from our digestive tract. Once again, this change lessens the sugar load on our bloodstream. Cardiovascular Health: Apples are considered a good , not excellent source of fiber, but the fiber in apples combine with other apple nutrients to provide a punch usually only associated much higher amounts of dietary fiber and offer great protection against cardiovascular disease. Total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol are both decreased by adding apples to your diet regularly - or 'an apple a day.' The antioxidants found in apples provide protection from oxidation of fats found in the bloodstream and in the membranes of cells that link our blood vessels. Additionally, recent research shows that the quercetin in apples provides the cardiovascular system with even more anti-inflammatory benefits! Cancer Protection: Preliminary study results indicate that apples have benefits for several different cancer types, including colon cancer and breast cancer ... but the benefits are truly striking in the area of lung cancer. Studies including hundreds of thousands of subjects show an strong ability of overall fruits and vegetables to lower lung cancer risk, but rarely is protection against lung cancer indicated -- except with apples -- which have demonstrated a strong relationship with lung cancer risk reduction. While the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of apples are thought to be factors in these surprising results, more research is required to understand why apples with display this stunning ability. There's even more good news for weight-watchers! Researchers found that by eating one medium-sized apple 15 minutes before a meal, caloric intake decreases by an average of 15%. That's 186 calories for a meal of 1,240 calories ... all from a medium-sized, 60-calorie apple! So take that old adage 'an apple a day will keep the doctor away' to heart, and remember, whether you eat it whole or add it to your fruit smoothie in the morning ... don't forget the skin!
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