Celebrate American Heart Month with Apples
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Apples can help keep your heart healthy, along with a balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables. As Americans observe American Heart Month in the month of February, the Michigan Apple Committee works with expert Shari Steinbach, M.S., R.D. to communicate the health benefits of regular apple consumption.
According to Steinbach, the fiber, phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins that are found in apples make it a delicious food with key nutritional benefits. Diets with the highest total dietary fiber intakes are associated with a significantly lower risk of several heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“As far as how much to eat, just follow the apple-a-day saying, and if you eat two-a-day it might be even better,” said Steinbach. “Apples are naturally fat-free and provide an excellent source of fiber – both soluble and insoluble types. With so many health benefits, not to mention their great taste, there are plenty of reasons to keep eating Michigan Apples.”
Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits that contain fiber, particularly soluble fiber, may lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. A Michigan Apple, for example, supplies an average of 4 grams of fiber and is a tasty way to help you achieve the goal of 25-30 grams of fiber daily. Eat the apple skin whenever possible to consume the most fiber. Additional health studies and information can be found at www.MichiganApples.com/Healthy-Living.
Potassium is the main mineral in apples. According to Steinbach, high intake of potassium may have beneficial effects for heart health and blood pressure control. A medium-sized Michigan Apple contains about 6% of the recommended daily value of potassium.
In addition, apples are a good source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a group of phytochemicals that have been shown to prevent cellular damage from harmful molecules called free radicals. Studies suggest polyphenols may reduce chronic inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease. Ongoing reviews published by the National Institutes of Health continue to study a possible link between polyphenols and reduced risk of death due to heart disease.
Steinbach offers meal solutions, healthy eating tips, shopping lists and more as part of her partnership with the Michigan Apple Committee. Read her blog at https://www.michiganapples.com/Healthy-Living/Healthy-Living-Blog.
The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit www.MichiganApples.com.