It’s harvest season. A time for cold air, warm clothes, and some of the tastiest food of the year. With that, we wanted to highlight some of these fall treats so you can enjoy your healthiest and tastiest fall yet! Ahh, apple picking. Be it a day with friends and family, a great outdoor date, or just to do a little shopping at nature’s grocery store, it’s hard to have a bad time out at an orchard on a crisp fall day. Hence why it’s a debate about whether pumpkins or apples are a quintessential fall fruit (yes, pumpkins are a fruit), and not without good reason. Whether you like them freshly picked, dipped in caramel, or smeared with peanut butter, indulging in fresh apples is a healthy (and delicious) way to ring in the fall harvest. Here are three of their top health benefits: 1. Lower risk of diabetes You’ve heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right? As it turns out, there might be a grain of truth to that. Although eating apples won’t keep the doctor away forever, both the antioxidants and the sugars found in apples can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Apples are high in antioxidants, especially quercetin. Quercetin helps prevent blood sugar spikes, which reduces the risk of diabetes by regulating the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. While sugary and sweet, most of the sugar in apples comes from naturally-occurring fructose. Surprisingly, this kind of sugar also helps prevent diabetes. This is because fructose, unlike other sugars, has a low impact on blood sugar and does not require insulin to move the sugar out of your bloodstream. 2. Protects your brain from degenerative diseases Preventing high blood sugar is not the only way quercetin will help keep the doctor away. In fact, research shows that quercetin may improve brain health and protect it from diseases caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, which is caused by an imbalance between the generation and detoxification of oxygen and nitrogen, can cause the brain to “age” and develop neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. As an antioxidant, quercetin hunts free radicals, including neurotoxins caused by oxidative stress, keeping your brain healthy and fully functioning. 3. Promotes gut health Don’t want to get an upset tummy? Eat an apple! Aside from sugars, apples are also high in pectin, a type of soluble fiber found in fruits. Pectin is considered a prebiotic fiber, which means it naturally helps nourish healthy gut bacteria. However, a healthy gut biome doesn’t only affect your gut. In fact, your whole body can benefit from a healthy gut. A healthy gut supports your immune system, metabolic rate, and some neurobehavioral traits by fermenting non-digestible dietary fibers and sending the resulting fatty acid chains to other organs to help regulate your hunger level and sugar intake. So, for the low cost of 95 calories each (and the cost of entry if you’re picking them yourself), you can rest assured that you’re getting a sweet treat and a healthy snack.
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