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Eat right and win with Michigan Apples

Contact: Denise Yockey
(800) 456-2753

(DeWitt, Mich.) – Can apples really help keep the doctor away? Research continues to reveal that apples – Michigan's largest fruit crop -do have many powerful health benefits.

Most recently, a study published in the Journal of Food Science reports that common fruits such as apples, bananas and oranges may protect against Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at Cornell University found that apples contain the highest content of protective antioxidants, followed by bananas and oranges.

Judy MacNeill, registered dietitian and Michigan Apple Committee (MAC) nutrition spokesperson, said she is not surprised by the study.

 “As our population ages, diseases such as Alzheimer's become a major concern,” she said. “Studies have consistently shown that high consumption of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of developing many chronic diseases. So it just makes sense that eating healthy foods like apples will provide a protective factor against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Since March is National Nutrition Month, as declared by the American Dietetic Association, MacNeill said it is an ideal time to emphasize the health benefits of apples.

Apples are:

  • An excellent source of fiber (one large apple contains more fiber than a bowl of cereal).

  • Free of fat, cholesterol and sodium.

  • May help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and asthma.vCalled “nature's toothbrush” because of their ability to clean and whiten teeth.

  • Contain about 80 calories each and have been shown to help with weight loss.

  • Pack the antioxidant and anticancer activity equal to 1,500 mg of vitamin C.

To celebrate the benefits of apples, MAC has developed a new health and fitness campaign designed to raise awareness and educate the public. As part of the campaign, MAC is giving shoppers a special reason to purchase Michigan apples.

“Through March, we are giving consumers a chance to win $20 worth if iTunes credits,” said Denise Yockey, MAC executive director. “So far, this has been a very rewarding program for us, especially with the popularity of iTunes soaring and the use of iPods during workouts and exercising becoming commonplace.”

Details about this special offer can be found at www.MichiganApples.com/fitness.

In addition to the iTunes giveaway, MAC has developed an essay contest that aims to help in the battle against childhood obesity. Four scholarships to a highly acclaimed camp for overweight children will be awarded this spring.

“We'll be sending four young people, struggling with their weight, to a four-week camp aimed at changing their lifestyles and starting anew,” said Yockey. “Childhood obesity statistics are at an all-time high and we felt it was time to do something to help out.”

The essay contest winners will be announced in April and their stories featured on the Michigan Apple web site and in several parenting magazines.

“Contests like the essay competition are just one more great reason to eat locally-grown produce like Michigan apples,” said MacNeill.

There are 950 family-owned apple orchards in Michigan, covering some 37,500 acres.

For more reading about the many health benefits of apples, see the MAC web site at www.MichiganApples.com/health.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.