Maoshing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D.
The beginning of autumn means that we're entering
apple season, which will be a time of cider, desserts, and the crisp,
wholesome goodness of the fruit freshly picked from your local orchard.
Apples have been a staple of healthy eating for many years, and the
often-repeated line of an apple a day keeping the doctor away is far
from a myth. Apples really do have a wonderful variety of nutritional
benefits, and are a tasty addition to any diet of good health and
Of all of the fruits we eat, apples are the best source of pectin, a
natural fiber that has several health benefits. Apples also contain
phytochemicals, quercetin, tannins, and antioxidants, all of which have
different healthy properties. Below is a list of the top five benefits
of making apples a standard part of your daily diet.
1. Apples improve the bowels. Pectin is a source of dietary fiber and a
very handy nutrient to have in one's diet. While it is also found in
citrus fruits, plums, and other fruits, apples have the highest
concentration of them all. Pectin works to increase the stool's volume
and resistance of fluids and is therefore helpful in treating
constipation, diarrhea, and generally improving the health of the
bowels. Studies have also found that apple pectin reduces the incidence
of colon tumors, and that has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of
2. Apples lower cholesterol. A study on nutrition and heart disease
found that eating three apples a day for three months can help you to
drop your cholesterol by at least 20 points. How does this happen? Apple
pectin, that miraculous source of dietary fiber, helps to draw bad LDL
cholesterol out of the system. Not only that, but the antioxidant
quercetin that is found in apples inhibits the LDL cholesterol from even
accumulating in the body's bloodstream. When it comes to lowering one's
cholesterol, apples provide a cocktail of nutritional benefits that are
hard to pass up.
3. Apples reduce the risk of cancer. Apples do not stop at merely
preventing colon cancer. The high amounts of quercetin, other
flavonoids, and phytochemicals found in this fruit deliver potent
antioxidant activity to all who eat an apple, and with that inhibit the
actions of free radicals. In addition, the phytochemicals may act
against carcinogens, which will likewise help to prevent cancer. This
means that apple eating prevents cancer of the prostate and lung, as
well as other parts of the body.
4. Apples slow the aging process. There may have been many generations
of explorers that sought the fountain of youth, but all they had to do
was fight the daily stresses of life with a tasty apple! The phytochemicals that come from the bright colors you find in the skins of
your favorite apple variety, along with aiding the apple's ability to
lower cholesterol and fight cancer, also inhibits the onset of diabetes,
hypertension, heart disease, and other conditions that lead to
potentially debilitating situations in old age.
5. Apples help to prevent hair loss. If keeping a full head of hair will
help you to age more gracefully, then chow down on some apples. Chinese
medicine considers hair loss to be a sign of a depleted kidney essence,
and apples are on the list of fruits and vegetables that will help you
to restore this essence and nourish the blood that flows to your hair
I hope you eat your apples, and that you really do keep the doctors
away. As always, I encourage you to share your own favorite longevity
foods and other tips with me.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Maoshing Ni, L.AC., D.O.M., PH.D., DIPL. C.H., DIPL. ABAAP
Dr. Mao is a Licensed Acupuncturist, a Diplomat of
Chinese Herbology and a Diplomat in Anti-Aging. He is currently in
general practice with special interest in immune, hormonal and aging
related conditions. He was awarded the Outstanding Acupuncturist of the
Year Award in 1987. Dr. Mao along with Dr. Dao, his brother and father,
founded Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Santa
Monica, California. He is currently director and a professor of Chinese
medicine at Yo San University. Dr. Mao is a member of the American
Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, the AOM ALLIANCE, American Society of
Acupuncturist, the American Association of Acupuncturist & Oriental
Medicine and National certification Commission for Acupuncturist &
Oriental Medicine Diplomat in Chinese Herbology.