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Apples for bone health

apples for bone health

We have all heard the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Now to prove it, it can help keep osteoporosis at bay. Osteoporosis is one of the common bone problems. It causes bones to become weak and brittle. The bone density decreases, and there is less or no bone renewal (bones are living tissues that break down and get replaced). To put it simply, the quality of the bones deteriorates. Here’s how apples help in maintaining bone health.


Osteoporosis is dangerous as it can cause fractures very easily (hip, spine, and wrist, especially). It can cause severe ache and extreme trouble in walking and standing up. It can get older people bedridden and physically dependent. Bone is an active tissue that constantly remodels itself (it breaks down and rebuilds). If the rate of bone breakdown is more than that of build-up, then there’s an issue of osteoporosis.


We might claim that we have had ample intake of milk so, we won’t get affected. However, osteoporosis usually occurs in the later years of life. To cure it, people may take calcium or vitamin-D supplements. However, for how long can you take these medications?


Katherine Tucker, professor of Nutritional Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, said, “While calcium and vitamin D are important, they are just two whole hosts of important nutrients. How we get them is just as important as how much we get.”


Apples are full of antioxidants, fibre, and vitamin C. It has ascorbic acid that is an antioxidant and is an essential nutrient for the body. Researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in fruits help promote bone density and strength. Eating a fresh apple provides a bone-building phytonutrient called phloridzin, which is a flavonoid antioxidant unique to apples (peels mainly) that helps improve bone density hence reducing breakdown. Apart from preventing osteoporosis, they help with digestion, brain function as well. Apples also have boron, a mineral needed for metabolism and absorption of other nutrients. Apples are also rich in potassium that benefit heart health too.


However, just eating apples won’t do. To prevent seeing the orthopaedist, one has to cut down on cola, excessive alcohol (red wine is good for bone health), too much salt, etc.


Osteoporosis is often associated with high-protein diets because there are high calcium concentrations in the urine of people given high doses of protein. Tucker’s analyses with her colleagues in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study have proved that high protein diets lead to the least amount of bone loss in older people. However, protein is acid-producing. So, to balance it, we need nutrients like magnesium and potassium. And voila! Apples are rich in these nutrients.


It is never too late to start doing something good. After all, prevention is better than cure. So, start eating an apple every day.


Arpita Priyadarshinee