Hello, Health

Did you know eating apples can help you lose weight?

With fruits, variety is the trick - have them all by rotation to get all the benefits.

 |  Hello, Health  |  4-minute read |   16-05-2016
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The first thing I do when I do a food audit with my clients is check how many fruits they are genuinely eating in a day. In most cases, they fall way too short of the advisable minimum three servings a day.

So I try all tactics - persuasion, cajoling, educating, even scaring them to get them to eat more. I am a firm believer in the place of fruits in our diet, especially when one is looking to gain health and lose pounds. And aren’t we all!

So shouldn’t we all (eat fruits). But convincing is anything but easy. People come up with excuses ranging from simple honest ones like, I don’t like their taste, to serious/complex ones like my doctor has asked me to avoid raw foods, or I feel like a gas balloon after eating a fruit (and not after eating that big juicy burger!). And till date, my favourite: my teeth are just not strong enough to chew fruits.

apples-bd_051616104117.jpg So many types and different tastes to choose from.

But trust me, I take this converting-them-to-fruits business seriously and have rarely failed to get people (most) to make fruits an important part of their diet. With fruits, variety is the trick - have them all by rotation to get all the benefits.

But I insist everyone must eat two fruits - apples and bananas. Let me explain why I am so biased towards apples here (we'll deal with banana some other time).

Tell me what’s there not to love! Apples are crunchy (don’t pick the over-ripe ones), sweet-tangy (perfect mix, if you ask me), portable (I carry one in my bag all the time) and super healthy too. We have all grown up listening to this oft-repeated saying, "An apple a day to keep the doctor away." Don’t shrug it off because there’s lots of truth in the saying actually.

We all know the basics - apple is high in fibre, low in calories, and is flushed with vitamins, immunity-boosting and cancer-preventing antioxidants.

But that's not all! Good news about them keeps coming in. Studies have shown that ursolic acid that is present in apple’s peel can help you lose weight faster too.

In a 2012 study, researchers from the University of Iowa found that ursolic acid supplements increase muscle mass and calorie burn. And an earlier study published in 2008 had found that women who added three small apples to their diet per day lost a little more than two pounds in 10 weeks — more than dieters who did not include this fruit in their diet.

Now let's do the math: a small apple adds just 70-odd calories to your diet, so three will give you close to 200, and ten gram fibre too. Satiety plus weight loss - a weight watchers best friend, I would say.

But to get this benefit, have the apple with the peel please (after washing it, of course, to get rid of the pesticides) as ursolic acid is concentrated there. Most of apple’s vitamin C is also present just below the peel.

Another good news is that apples have a particular antioxidant called quercetin. Eating an apple before you workout helps boost endurance by making more oxygen available to the lungs. And if you are worried about what's pollution doing to you, apple is your best antidote.

It helps boost the lung capacity (research shows that those who eat more than five apples a week get this benefit) and protects the lungs from the harmful effects of atmospheric pollutants and cigarette smoke. Another big benefit of quercetin is that it cuts the risk of stroke.

But that’s not all: apple is also loaded with soluble fibre, pectin, which is truly the key to blunting blood sugar swings, and keeping insulin in check, so it is great to keep diabetes away. Plus pectin has been shown to help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase the good (HDL) cholesterol. So basically, apples, besides helping keep you diabetes free, cover your heart too.

Need more reasons to bite into an apple? It’s great for your teeth. Biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay.

And I also love the fact that apples come in all shades of red, green and yellow - so many types and different tastes to choose from. How can one get bored of them.

My simple advice is: love them or hate them - eat them! And I’ll end with one hot little secret not too many people know: even tulsi (holy basil) is a good source of ursolic acid (promise to tell you more about holy basil soon).

Writer

Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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