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Contributed by: News Canada

April is Dental Health Month and apples make a perfect snack to coincide with the month of April. Apples are considered "Nature's Toothbrush". When you bite into an apple, not only does the flesh clean your teeth, but it exercises your gums, too. Apples increase saliva and reduce cavity-causing bacteria.

Apples are also rich in pectin, a form of soluble fibre that is known to help reduce the levels of blood cholesterol and aid in digestion. Flavonoids found in apples, such as quercetin, help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism and gout.

Apples and Chronic Disease

Finnish researchers report that components found in apples may keep the doctor away by reducing the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and asthma. Conclusions drawn by researchers at the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, were based on ongoing research of 10,054 Finnish men and women that began in 1966. They sought to study the potential association between intake of flavonoids and reduced risk of several chronic diseases.

Apples and Stroke

Finnish researchers report that persons who ate the most apples had the lowest risk of thrombotic stroke, possibly due to the phytonutrients found in the apples. This conclusion was based on evaluation of dietary records and health outcomes of 9,208 men followed for 28 years. Unlike findings from other epidemiological studies, the researchers attributed this positive association to phytonutrients other than quercetin found in apples (e.g., catechins), demonstrating apples' broad phytonutrient content. (Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, 54: 415-417)


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