An apple a day may not be great for a doctor's business, but it seems to be one of the best things you can eat on the job. The fact that they come pre-packaged in their own skin means they are easier to clean, prepare and transport than many other fruits, you might consider as part of an on-the-job snack. And this convenience factor comes in addition to the numerous nutritional benefits which apples offer.
"Apples are a delicious way to add a dose of disease prevention to your daily diet," says Allison Parker MS, RD, director of consumer health and education at the U.S. Apple Association. "It is no wonder numerous health organizations, including the Surgeon General, the American Cancer Society and the American Dietetic Association, encourage greater consumption of fruits and vegetables-like apples and apple products."
Now you can add your boss to the list of professionals who suggest you snack on apples. It's no wonder so many offices have a bowl full of them sitting in the reception area or break room these days. Employers who are serious about maintaining their employees health might consider offering apples, instead of beer, as a perk.
Here are a nine ways apples can help you both on the job and off, according to the U.S. Apple Association:
1. Keep you sharp: Ever feel like your job is making you lose your mind? Apples can help keep that from happening. Researchers from Cornell University found that apple nutrients protected brain neurons against oxidative damage. Such damage can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The study highlighted the antioxidant quercetin as a principle compound responsible for the protective effect.
2. Good for your heart: Risk of heart attack can be one less worry -- researchers at the University of California-Davis report that daily consumption of apples and apple juice may help reduce the damage caused by the LDL, the "bad" type of cholesterol, and protect against heart disease.
3. Cough suppressant: Apples can help remedy that annoying cough. A National Institutes of Health study reports that foods rich in fiber and flavonoids, found abundantly in apples, may reduce chronic productive cough and other respiratory symptoms.
4. Helps digestion: Down with upset stomachs that distract you at work! University of Denmark researchers discovered apples and apple products could boost intestinal health by increasing the numbers of good gut bacteria. The friendly bacteria in the intestines feed on apple pectin, a fiber found abundantly in apples.
5. Builds strong bodies: Apples can help you fight sedentary muscle degeneration -- a natural compound found in the apple's skin, called ursolic acid, may help prevent muscle wasting that can result from aging and illness.
6. Diet-conscious snack: What a way to lose weight while snacking! State University of Rio de Janeiro researchers studying the impact of fruit intake on weight loss found that overweight women who ate the equivalent of three apples a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn't eat the fiber-rich fruit.
7. Diet at your desk: Here's another way apples can help you stay fitter at work -- adults who consume apples, apple juice and apple sauce are likely to have lower blood pressure and trimmer waistlines, resulting in a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health problems related to diabetes and heart disease.
8. Avoid sick leave: Soluble fiber, like apple pectin, may reduce the inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases and strengthen the immune system, according to a University of Illinois study.
9. Lengthen your career: Apples are rich in antioxidants, especially quercetin, which have been identified to help inhibit cancer onset and cell proliferation. In one study, the more apples per day individuals ate, the less likely they were to develop colorectal cancer. The anti-cancer effect was seen even when an individual had a low total consumption of fruits and vegetables but consumed at least an apple a day.
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