An Apple a Day Can Keep Your Dentist & Doctor at Bay

US News & World Report By: Joan Salge Blake

Based on research, this fall's bounty of delicious apples may be good for your heart, waist and teeth.

Apples are a good source of a group of phytochemicals, called polyphenols, which have been shown to help decrease the risk of getting heart disease. Apples are also rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol levels. A high blood cholesterol level can increase your risk of heart disease.

But the benefits of fiber do not stop there. Chomping on an apple can help you feel full longer as the fiber content slows down its departure from the stomach to the gastrointestinal tract as it's being digested. A study of more than 55 adults published in Appetite revealed that eating an apple prior to lunch helped reduce the calories at that meal by 15 percent, or about 185 calories. This daily calorie reduction could parlay into a loss of about 1.5 pounds monthly, or 20 pounds a year. The researchers of this study concluded that eating high-fiber fruit at the start of a meal increases satiety or fullness, which can help you to consume fewer calories when you sit down to eat.

Lastly, apples contain another type of a polyphenol called tannins that will delight your dentist. These tannins are thought to have anti-sticky properties that may inhibit the bacteria in your mouth from interacting together and producing that nasty plaque that can build up on your teeth.

Since it is apple season, try these three apple tips to help you stay healthy, from your teeth to your waist:

1. Add chopped apples to your morning yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal to keep you full throughout the morning and potentially help lower your cholesterol.

2. Chomp on an apple 30 minutes prior to your lunch to help you eat less.

3. Pack an apple to munch on during the workday commute home. A pre-dinner apple is good for your teeth and could help curb your appetite so you don't arrive home so ravenous that you're tempted to eat anything that isn't moving.

Enjoying apples this fall may end up being the sweetest health trick of the season.

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