Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Apple a Day: Some Clout?

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Is this old wives tale really true?

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased consumption of blueberries and apples may be associated with decreased diabetes risk. A Harvard research fellow who worked on the study said that this doesn't prove the fruits themselves prevent diabetes. However, the research is in line with other studies that have shown fruits high in flavanoids help prevent health problems like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Flavanoids are natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables that have powerful antioxidant effects. This research suggests that it could be certain flavanoids found in apples and blueberries that are behind the beneficial effect of lowering diabetes risk. Dr. Loren Greene, professor of medicine, suggests that the pectins and fibers found in fruit could also contribute to the benefits. Study participants who consumed one-half cup of blueberries two to three times per week and those who consumed at least five apples per week had a 23 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over the 24-year long study period. I'd say that's a result that carries some clout. And not to mention, it's achievable.

It's important to note that all fruits and vegetables have different types of antioxidant compounds, depending on their color. So don't just concentrate on one or two types--mix it up! Remember to use MyPlate when you build your meals: half your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Also try to enjoy more fruits and vegetables as snacks and for dessert. There's substantial research that concludes this is a healthy practice for overall wellness, even if it doesn't directly decrease your risk of diabetes.

Source: Reuters
Photo credit: Clare Bloomfield