We’ve all heard that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but how true is that?
Apples are not rich in vitamin A and are not as good for your eyesight as carrots. It’s not a rich source of vitamin C, so it doesn’t prevent colds the way oranges do.
However, apples contain various components, physiologically active substance – Natural chemicals that are present in small amounts in food and have biological effects in the body. These chemicals are not classified as nutrients such as vitamins. The fruit is considered good for health because apples contain many bioactive substances that promote health. “Functional food.
For many years I Taught a nutrition class at university vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. Recently, however, we have developed a course dedicated to functional foods. This class explores the various bioactive substances found in food and how they function like drugs.
Definition of functional food
Functional foods are different from superfoods. “Superfood” is a buzzword used by marketers to promote foods such as kale, spinach and blueberries. Labeling it as “ultra” appeals to the masses and increases sales. However, superfoods generally refer to foods that have good nutritional value and are rich in nutrients. nutrients beneficial to health. For example, salmon and tuna are considered superfoods because they are high in omega-3 fats. Associated with heart health.
Advertisements for superfoods claim that eating the food improves some of your health.The problem is that most of those claims not based on scientific researchsimilar to the criteria for functional foods.
Functional foods contain nutrients that our bodies need for growth and development, as well as various bioactive substances that have unique functions in the body. Bioactive substances are: found naturally in food or added during processing.
list of Bioactive ingredient As research expands, the ingredients contained in foods are increasing day by day. While the ingredient itself is not new, there are evidence-based studies supporting its health benefits.
of carotenoid is the most obvious example of a bioactive substance. They are, 850 pigments Gives color to yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids act primarily as antioxidantsIn other words, it promotes health by preventing damage to the cells of the body. Different individual carotenoids may function in different ways.
Beta-carotene is the best known carotenoid. abundant in carrots. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body when ingested. Vitamin A is necessary for normal vision.
lutein and zeaxanthin A yellow carotenoid found in corn and peppers. These two especially support vision in the elderly.
Studies show that carotenoids from foods and Other categories of bioactive substances It may help prevent certain cancers and improve heart health. It is important to note that carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Benefits of Carotenoids in Supplements Are Fewer.
History of the functional food movement
A saying about apples and health, born in the 1800snutrition is a relatively new science, and the concept of functional foods and bioactive ingredients is even newer.
From the early 1900s to the 1970s, nutritional research focused on vitamin deficiencies.Citizens were encouraged to eat more processed foods fortified with vitamins to prevent nutritional deficiencies. diseases such as scurvycaused by severe vitamin C deficiency, or ricketscaused by prolonged vitamin D deficiency.
this focus on diet to compensate for nutritional deficiencies People tend to focus on certain nutrients, which can contribute to overeating. Combined with this, Increased availability of highly processed foodsled to weight gain and increased incidence of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
In 1980 the US government released its first report. dietary guidelines It encouraged people to avoid fat, sugar and salt. Public health messages encouraged people to replace fatty foods with starchy foods such as bread and pasta.
The logic of this recommendation was that if people reduced their fat intake, they should increase their calories from carbohydrates to ensure adequate calories.or Nutrition Advice Contributed of Obesity on the Rise and diabetes rate or continue today.
Health foods attracting attention in Japan
Historically, the Japanese were one of them. healthiest population on earth. However, as the 21st century approaches, many Japanese adopt American-style diets, Health problems similar to those in the United States arose.
As a result, the Japanese government became concerned about the safety of its citizens. waistline enlargement and deteriorating health.To solve this problem, Japan Countries that first introduced the concept of functional food in the 1980s.
Today in Japan,Food for specified health use” is awarded to products that can be scientifically proven to promote good health.
It worked.in Japan Over 1,000 Foods and Beverages Approved As a food for special health purposes such as hypoallergenic rice. Although rice allergy is rare, it is a major problem for Japanese with rice allergy because rice is the staple food.
About half of Japan’s health claims are related to improving digestion using bioactive substances prebiotic dietary fiber.
Bioactive components contained in apples
The natural dietary fiber in apples is one of the bioactive ingredients classified as functional foods. Fiber pectin is found mainly in apple pulp.
Apple peels are also rich in dietary fiber, which acts as a laxative.
Additionally, apples contain large amounts of natural chemicals known as polyphenols. Important Role in Health Promotion and Reduction of Chronic Disease.is more than 8,000 types of polyphenols It has been found in various plant foods.because they are mainly on skinWhole apples are a better source of polyphenols than juice or applesauce.
Anthocyanin A subclass of polyphenols that gives Most apple skins are red.A diet rich in anthocyanins is effective improve heart health and has been Researched for use in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Another major polyphenol found in apples is Phlorizin. Researchers The Role of Phlorizin in Helping Blood Sugar Control Over 100 years. Recent studies confirm that it plays an important role. regulate blood sugar It lowers levels by reducing the amount of glucose absorbed from the small intestine and increasing excretion by the kidneys.
revisiting the original question
So, if apples are a health-enhancing functional food, does it really keep the doctor away?
Researchers have tried to figure this out.A US team analyzed Patterns of eating apples and frequency of doctor visits among more than 8,000 adults. About 9% of them ate an apple every day. After adjusting for demographic and health-related factors, the researchers found that people who ate apples every day used slightly less prescription drugs than those who didn’t eat apples. However, the number of doctor visits was similar in both groups.
If one apple a day doesn’t make you healthy, why not eat two or three?
A group of European researchers found that Eating two apples a day improves heart health 40 adults.And Brazilian investigators found that Eating 3 apples daily improves weight loss Blood sugar levels in 40 overweight women.
Eating an apple a day won’t necessarily drastically reduce prescription drugs or doctor visits, but it could be a step in the direction of a healthier, fiber-rich, whole food intake. there is.
Apples do not require cooking or refrigeration for at least a week. red delicious apple cost About US$50.
The next time you go to the supermarket, pick up an apple and eat at least one a day if you feel like it.