Can eating an apple a day really help keep the doctor away? It can certainly help you control your blood sugar and gain all the benefits that come with that control. In fact, researchers have discovered that women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. That’s probably because apples, from tart Granny Smiths to sweet, juicy Pink Ladies, are loaded with soluble fiber–number one for blunting blood sugar swings. A medium apple dishes up an impressive 4 grams of fiber, mostly pectin, which is also known for its ability to lower cholesterol.
Looking to trim your tummy? (Remember, belly fat is bad for blood sugar.) Try eating three small apples a day. A study from the State University of Rio de Janeiro found that doing so as part of a reduced-calorie diet helped women not only lose more weight but also lower their blood sugar more than women who ate another food instead of apples.
To press every bit of benefit from apples, opt for whole, unpeeled fruit. For apples with a lower GL (glycemic load) look for Braeburns, which have more acid and less sugar than Golden Delicious. Next on the glycemic scale is unsweetened applesauce, which offers many of the same health benefits. But steer clear of apple juice; it’s not much better than apple-flavored liquid sugar.
Apples aren’t particularly rich in vitamins or minerals, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good for you. In fact, they’re loaded with antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, believed to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. One study found that eating a small apple with the skin provided total antioxidant and anti-cancer activity equal to 1,500 mg of vitamin C.
For another source of flavonoids, try supplementing with ginkgo biloba. This supplement is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage, even in the brain.
Try this yummy breakfast: Oatmeal with Apples and Flaxseed.
Adapted from Magic Foods for Better Blood Sugar