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An Apple Juice A Day May Keep Asthma Away In Texas

Aug 18, 2007
Researchers have discovered that kids in Dallas, Houston and the rest of Texas who drink lots of apple juice may be less likely to develop asthma symptoms. The National Heart and Lung Institute research is the latest to issue a study linking apples and individual human health.

The study found that children who drank apple juice daily were half as likely to suffer from wheezing as those who drank it less than once a month. The study concluded that eating fresh apples themselves gave no apparent benefits to children.

Researchers studied five to 10-year-old schoolchildren in the Greenwich area of London, asking parents about their child's fruit intake and any symptoms the children suffered. While there was no link found between apple juice consumption and a reduced chance of an actual asthma diagnosis, there was a strong link between wheezing and drinking the juice.

The appearance of wheezing symptoms is one of the most important signs that a child is at risk for asthma, although many children with the symptoms may not be diagnosed with the illness. There was a similar, but not as strong a benefit found for children eating bananas at least once a day, compared with less than once a month. The apple juice involved in the study was not fresh apple juice. Long-life juices made from apple juice concentrate were equally as effective.

Dr Peter Burney, who led the study, said that it was possible that "phytochemicals" in apples, such as flavanoids and phenolic acids, helped to calm the inflammation in the airways, which is a key feature of both wheezing and asthma.

He said it currently isn't clear why a link between eating apples themselves and reduced asthma symptoms -- already spotted in adult studies -- didn't appear among the children in this study. "Further studies are needed to confirm the protective effects of apple juice and bananas," he said.

Dr Mike Thomas, an Asthma researcher at the University of Aberdeen, said that the study was further evidence of the protective effect of apples.

Recent research from the university suggested that women who ate a diet heavy in apples during pregnancy were protecting their unborn children against asthma. "There is some evidence that a healthy diet rich in anti-oxidants and vitamins is good for asthma," Thomas said. "It is yet another reason why we should be encouraging a healthy diet."

Other recent studies suggest that apple consumption can help control weight gain, lower the risk of heart disease and fight cancer. And though most people think the flesh of the apple is the most delicious part, the skin is actually the most nutritious.

Apple skin contains 4 milligrams of quercetin, an anti-oxident compound that prevents oxygen molecules from damaging individual cells, which can prevent cell changes that could lead to cancer. A Finnish study recently showed that men who had a high intake of quercetin lowered their risk of heart disease by 20 percent. This compound has also been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors and keep cancer cells from spreading.

The insoluble fiber found in apples has a host of other benefits. The apple skin is considered roughage and is a great remedy for constipation. Insoluble fiber also helps the digestive tract run smoothly, helping prevent diverticulosis, which is a condition that can lead to colon cancer. Another benefit of apple's insoluble fiber is its filling effect, which is an appetite suppressant.

Apples also contain soluble fiber, which forms a gel-like material in the digestive tract that can help lower cholesterol, as well as stroke and heart disease risk. One of an apple's more well-known soluble fibers is pectin. Pectin reduces the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver, slows both digestion and the rise of blood sugar, making it ideal for diabetics.

As you'll discover, what you put into your body will affect your health. And your health, good or bad, will eventually affect your bank account as well.
About the Author
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com
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