I am a fearful person. I can say I’m almost always scared. Scared of illness, scared to meet an accident, scared to be robbed, scared that something bad will happen to one of my loved ones.
Then one time, I got really really scared of something that happened about four years ago. It was a kind of ‘what it had happened’ kind of scenario. It didn’t, of course, happen, but what if? Sounds unreasonable right? Then, I started to shake, my heart beat so fast my head throbbed. I tried to keep myself calm, but it made me shake even more. So, I stood up, went downstairs and drank a glass of water. It, somehow, made me feel better, but that event made me ask myself if I have Panic Attack Disorder.
Panic disorder is different from the normal fear and anxiety reactions to stressful events in our lives. Panic disorder is a serious condition that strikes without reason or warning. Symptoms of panic disorder include sudden attacks of fear and nervousness, as well as physical symptoms such as sweating and a racing heart. During a panic attack, the fear response is out of proportion for the situation, which often is not threatening. Over time, a person with panic disorder develops a constant fear of having another panic attack, which can affect daily functioning and general quality of life.
Panic disorder often occurs along with other serious conditions, such as depression, alcoholism, or drug abuse.
What Are the Symptoms of Panic Disorder?
Symptoms of a panic attack, which often last about 10 minutes, include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Pounding heart or chest pain.
- Intense feeling of dread.
- Sensation of choking or smothering.
- Dizziness or feeling faint.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Nausea or stomachache.
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes.
- Chills or hot flashes.
- A fear that you are losing control or are about to die.
Beyond the panic attacks themselves, a key symptom of panic disorder is the persistent fear of having future panic attacks. The fear of these attacks can cause the person to avoid places and situations where an attack has occurred or where they believe an attack may occur.
What Causes Panic Disorder?
Although the exact cause of panic disorder is not fully understood, studies have shown that a combination of factors, including biological and environmental, may be involved. These factors include.
- Family history. Panic disorder has been shown to run in families. It may be passed on to some people by one or both parent(s) much like hair or eye color can.
- Abnormalities in the brain. Panic disorder may be caused by problems in parts of the brain.
- Substance abuse. Abuse of drugs and alcohol can contribute to panic disorder.
- Major life stress. Stressful events and major life transitions, such as the death of a loved one, can trigger panic disorder.
How Common Is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder affects about 2.4 million adult Americans. Panic disorder most often begins during late adolescence and early adulthood. It is twice as common in women as in men.
How Is Panic Disorder Diagnosed?
If symptoms of panic disorder are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and physical exam. Although there are no lab tests to specifically diagnose panic disorder, the doctor may use various tests to look for physical illness as the cause of symptoms.
If no physical illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist,mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for panic disorder.
The doctor bases his or her diagnosis on reported intensity and duration of symptoms, including the frequency of panic attacks, and the doctor’s observation of the patient’s attitude and behavior. The doctor then determines if the symptoms and degree of dysfunction suggest panic disorder.
How Is Panic Disorder Treated?
A combination of the following therapies is often used to treat panic disorder.
- Psychotherapy . Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their disorder.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy . A type of psychotherapy that helps a person learn to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. Therapy also aims to identify possibly triggers for panic attacks.
- Medication . The anti-depressant drugs Paxil and Zoloft and anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, Ativan, or Klonopin are used to treat panic disorders. Sometimes, heart medications (such as beta blockers) are used to help with anxiety.
- Relaxation techniques.
Some people will respond well to treatment only to experience panic attacks later in life. When panic attacks continue after treatment has stopped, additional treatment may still help control and reduce panic attacks. In addition, relaxation techniques, such as breathing retraining and positive visualization, may help a person during an attack.
What Is the Outlook for People With Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder can be successfully treated, and sufferers can go on to lead full and satisfying lives. With appropriate treatment, nearly 90% of people with panic disorder can find relief. Unfortunately, many people with panic disorder do not seek treatment. Without treatment, panic disorder can have serious consequences and can severely impair quality of life. Complications of untreated panic disorder include.
- Avoidance. A person may discontinue any activities that seem to trigger a panic attack. This can make a normal work and home life nearly impossible.
- Anticipatory anxiety. This refers to anxiety that is triggered merely by thinking about the possibility of having an anxiety attack.
- Agoraphobia. This is the fear of being in places or situations in which an attack may occur, or from which escape would be difficult or highly embarrassing. This fear can drive people to avoid public places and crowds, and may even progress to the point that the person will not leave his or her home. About one-third of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia.
- Claustrophobia. The person fears enclosed spaces.
Can Panic Disorder Be Prevented?
Panic disorder cannot be prevented; however, there are some things you can do to reduce stress and decrease symptoms, including:
- Stop or reduce consumption of products that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter drugs or herbal remedies. Many contain chemicals that can increase anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise daily and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
One of my favorite moments is when I drink milk with my children before we go to sleep. It’s a kind of habit that eventually turned into a ritual. Now, it’s imperative that we drink milk together before we go to sleep.
More than the bonding, there are some benefits of drinking milk:
1. Glowing Skin
Cleopatra took milk baths to help her skin stay soft, supple and glowing. You can do the same, or you can drink a few glasses of whole milk each day to get its benefits. Milk has several nutrients which help skin look its best. It has lactic acid which can act as an exfoliant and enzymes to help smooth skin. It also has amino acids that help keep skin moisturized. Milk can help prevent damage from environmental toxins because it has antioxidants. However, if you have a sensitivity to milk or dairy products, milk can actually aggravate your skin.
2. Healthy Bones and Teeth
Milk is a great source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones. Not only do young children need it while their bones are growing, but adults need it to keep their bones strong and to prevent osteoporosis. Milk is also great for strong teeth, and it helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. In order for the calcium to be absorbed by the body, vitamin D must be present. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, buy milk that is fortified with extra vitamin D to ensure that your body absorbs the calcium.
Milk contains protein, which helps to rebuild muscles. Drink a glass of milk after you exercise to give your body what it needs to recover. It will help to keep soreness at bay while replenishing fluids that you lost during your workout.
4. Weight Loss
Studies show that women who drink low-fat or skim milk lose more weight than those who exclude milk from their diet. It is a great appetizer and it makes a healthy snack. Add a glass to your dinner, or drink a glass while eating a piece of fruit.
5. Less Stress
Milk is a great way to de-stress at the end of the day. A glass of warm milk will help to relax tense muscles and soothe frayed nerves. Milk has also been proven to reduce symptoms of PMS and boost energy. The next time you are feeling frazzled, try drinking a glass of milk while you soak in a bubble bath.
6. Healthy Body
Milk has properties that lower high blood pressure and risk of strokes. It reduces the liver’s production of cholesterol, and it can act as an antacid. Vitamins A and B in milk can help build good eyesight. Milk has also been show to help lower risk of certain cancers.
There are several varieties of milk on the market, such as whole, 2%, low-fat and fat free. If you are concerned about the growth hormones used in milk, choose to go the organic route. With all of the types of milk available, you should be able to find something that fits your diet and nutritional needs.
A few days ago as I was walking, I suddenly felt something different in my left knee. It felt.. funny. There was pain, though I couldn’t describe how it felt. It wasn’t the sharp or throbbing pain that I’m familiar with nor was it slicing or fierce. It seems like being pressed down by a ton of bricks.
Normally I associate the pain with gout, but I can’t be so sure. Then I consider arthritis but I think I’m still young for that, or am I?
Source: MNT Medical News Today
The word arthritis comes from the Greekarthron meaning “joint” and the Latin itismeaning “inflammation”. The plural of arthritis is arthritides.
Arthritis is not a single disease – it is a term that covers over 100 medical conditions.Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and generally affects elderly patients. Some forms of arthritis can affect people at a very early age.
What causes arthritis?
In order to better understand what is going on when a person suffers from some form of arthritis, let us look at how a joint works.
Basically, a joint is where one bone moves on another bone. Ligaments hold the two bones together. The ligaments are like elastic bands, while they keep the bones in place your muscles relax or contract to make the joint move.
Cartilage covers the bone surface to stop the two bones from rubbing directly against each other. The covering of cartilage allows the joint to work smoothly and painlessly.
A capsule surrounds the joint. The space within the joint – the joint cavity – has synovial fluid. Synovial fluid nourishes the joint and the cartilage. The synovial fluid is produced by the synovium (synovial membrane) which lines the joint cavity.
If you have arthritis something goes wrong with the joint(s). What goes wrong depends on what type of arthritis you have. It could be that the cartilage is wearing away, a lack of fluid, autoimmunity (your body attacking itself), infection, or a combination of many factors.
Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis?
Cracking the knuckles, also known as “popping”, is a kind of joint manipulation that produces a cracking sound. Cracking one’s knuckles is a deliberate action.
In fact, humans are able to crack several joints, including the ankles, shoulders, feet, jaws, toes, neck and back vertebrae, elbows, wrists and hips.
Two studies showed that chronic knuckle cracking does not appear to increase the risk of hand osteoarthritis, but may reduce the strength of your grip.
Dr. Donald Unger won the Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine after spending 60 years cracking the knuckles on his left hand but not his right. He reported that neither hand had arthritis after all that time, or other problems.
Types of arthritis
There are over 100 types of arthritis. Here is a description of some common ones, together with the causes:
- Osteoarthritis – cartilage loses its elasticity. If the cartilage is stiff it becomes damaged more easily. The cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber, will gradually wear away in some areas. As the cartilage becomes damaged tendons and ligaments become stretched, causing pain. Eventually the bones may rub against each other causing very severe pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – this is an inflammatory form of arthritis. The synovial membrane (synovium) is attacked, resulting in swelling and pain. If left untreated the arthritis can lead to deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis is significantly more common in women than men and generally strikes when the patient is aged between 40 and 60. However, children and much older people may also be affected. Swedish scientists published their study in JAMAin October 2012, explaining that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of blood clots in the first ten years after diagnosis.
- Infectious arthritis (septic arthritic) – an infection in the synovial fluid and tissues of a joint. It is usually caused by bacteria, but could also be caused by fungi or viruses. Bacteria, fungi or viruses may spread through the bloodstream from infected tissue nearby, and infect a joint. Most susceptible people are those who already have some form of arthritis and develop an infection that travels in the bloodstream.
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) – means arthritis that affects a person aged 16 or less. JRA can be various forms of arthritis; it basically means that a child has it. There are three main types:
1. Pauciarticular JRA, the most common and mildest. The child experiences pain in up to 4 joints.
2. Polyarticular JRA affects more joints and is more severe. As time goes by it tends to get worse.
3. Systemic JRA is the least common. Pain is experienced in many joints. It can spread to organs. This can be the most serious JRA.
What are the signs and symptoms of arthritis?
The symptoms of arthritis depend on the type of arthritis, for example:
- Osteoarthritis – The symptoms develop slowly and get worse as time goes by. There is pain in a joint, either during or after use, or after a period of inactivity. There will be tenderness when pressure is applied to the joint. The joint will be stiff, especially first thing in the morning. The patient may find it harder to use the joint – it loses its flexibility. Some patients experience a grating sensation when they use the joint. Hard lumps, or bone spurs may appear around the joint. In some cases the joint might swell. The most common affected joints are in the hips, hands, knees and spine.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – The patient often finds the same joints in each side of the body are painfully swollen, inflamed, and stiff. The fingers, arms, legs and wrists are most commonly affected. Symptoms are usually worst on waking up in the morning and the stiffness can last for 30 minutes at this time. The joint is tender when touched. Hands may be red and puffy. There may be rheumatoid nodules (bumps of tissue under the skin of the patient’s arms). Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis feel tired most of the time. Weight loss is common.
The smaller joints are usually noticeably affected first. Experts say patients with rheumatoid arthritis have problems with several joints at the same time. As the arthritis progresses it spreads from the smaller joints in your hands, wrists, ankles and feet to your elbows, knees, hips, neck, shoulders and jaw.
- Infectious arthritis – The patient has a fever, joint inflammation and swelling. He will feel tenderness and/or a sharp pain. Often these symptoms are linked to an injury or another illness. Most commonly affected areas are the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger. In the majority of cases, just one joint is affected.
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – The patient is a child. He will experience intermittent fevers which tend to peak in the evening and then suddenly disappear. His appetite will be poor and he will lose weight. There may be blotchy rashes on his arms and legs. Anemia is also common. The child may limp or have a sore wrist, finger, or knee. A joint may suddenly swell and stay larger than it usually is. The child may experience a stiff neck, hips or some other joint.
How will arthritis affect me?
Arthritis affects people in many different ways. How long the patient is affected and how severely it is depends on the type of arthritis. Arthritis sufferers will find there are good and bad days. Most patients with arthritis will suffer from discomfort, pain, stiffness and/or fatigue.
You may also feel frustrated that you are no longer able to grip things so well or get around like you used to. It is important to remember that if you suffer from arthritis this does not mean you have to give up having an active lifestyle. With some changes to your way of life there is no reason why you cannot continue being active.
Physical therapy and occupational therapy for arthritis
Physical therapy and occupational therapy help maintain joint mobility and range of motion. How much therapy you need, and what kind of therapy will depend on many factors, such as the severity and type of arthritis you have, your age, and your general state of health. This has to be decided by you with your physician and physical or occupational therapist.
People with arthritis will often avoid moving the affected joint because of the pain. A physical therapist can help the patient work out the joint stiffness without damaging it. In order to perform your daily activity the physical therapist will help you achieve a good range of motion. This may involve building strength in the muscles that surround the affected joint – stronger muscles help stabilize a weakened joint. You will also be taught the best way to move from one position to another, as well as learning how to use such walking aids as crutches, a cane or a walker, if you need one.
Occupational therapy can teach you how to reduce the strain on your joints as you go about your daily activities. The occupational therapist can help you modify your home and workplace so that your movements do not aggravate your arthritis. You may need a splint for your hands or wrists, as well as aids for dressing, housekeeping, work activities, driving and washing/bathing yourself.
An occupational and/or physical therapist can make an enormous difference to your quality of life if you suffer from arthritis. He/she will help you learn more about your arthritis, devise a dietary plan if you are overweight and overstressing the joints as a result, help you make better decisions about what shoes to buy if that part of the body is affected. You will learn how and when to rest – rest is crucial for treating inflammation and pain, especially when many joints are affected and you feel tired. Resting individual joints is very helpful too – custom splints can be made to rest and support affected joints.
Local pain can be relieved with ice packs or heating pads. Ultrasound and hot packs provide deep heat which relieves localized pain and relaxes muscle spasm around the affected joint. You may find that a warm bath/shower makes it easier for you to exercise afterwards.
Physical activity can improve arthritis symptoms – doctors warn that inactivity could harm the health of most patients with arthritis or some kind of rheumatic disease. Inactivity raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes type 2. Muscles become weaker with no exercise, joints become stiffer, and the patient’s tolerance for pain decreases. Balance problems may also become worse.
Arthritis patients who are physically active generally enjoy better health, are happier, live longer, experience improvements in pain, sleep, day-to-day functioning and general energy levels.
David Borenstein, MD, American College of Rheumatology President and practicing rheumatologist says:
“Many people with arthritis and rheumatic diseases suffer from joint pain and stiffness, which can cause a person to avoid exercise out of the fear of increasing their pain or causing injury. However, exercise, when properly planned and safely executed, can do just the opposite.”
The American College of Rheumatology offers the following tips for those wishing to embark on an exercise plan:
- Check with your rheumatologist first
- Ask your physical therapist for advice
- Set realistic goals, both short- and long-term ones. Include rewards for each achievement
- Plan ahead, so that you can identify pitfalls, obstacles or problems for your exercise program, and how to overcome them
- For variety, create a range of physical activities and do them in different locations
- Try starting off with friends or family members
- Keep a log of what you do so that you are aware of your progress
I guess no matter how good the band is if the sound system is poor, well.. that is so not good.
Two weeks ago, I just attended a celebration of a barangay fiesta in my hometown. Well, I was actually not into it, but since my daughter was chosen as one of the muses, I had no choice but to be there.
The first night of the celebration was the Barangay Night. One of the first things I noticed was how bad the sound system was. Obviously, they didn’t have one of those great kustom amps. Consequently, the event wasn’t as enjoyable as it was supposed to be. By midnight, we packed our stuff and marched out of the hall.
I grew up in a town where onions are grown. When I was young, I only had one description for them, they STINK. Though I have cheerful memories of both planting and harvest seasons of onions, I didn’t particularly like them. Let’s say, onions are not on my favorite food list. But for some reasons, I just found myself not minding onions on food much. What more, here are some benefits of onions that I wasn’t aware of before.
Onions Nutritional Highlights
Onions are a very good source of vitamin C, B6, biotin, chromium, calcium and dietary fibre. In addition, they contain good amounts of folic acid and vitamin B1 and K.
A 100 gram serving provides 44 calories, mostly as complex carbohydrate, with 1.4 grams of fibre.
Like garlic, onions also have the enzyme alliinase, which is released when an onion is cut or crushed and it causes your eyes to water.
They also contain flavonoids, which are pigments that give vegetables their colour. These compounds act as antioxidants, have a direct antitumor effect and have immune-enhancing properties.
Onions contain a large amount of sulfur and are especially good for the liver. As a sulfur food, they mix best with proteins, as they stimulate the action of the amino acids to the brain and nervous system.
Onions, Rich Source of Quercitin
The onion is the richest dietary source ofquercitin, a potent antioxidant flavonoid (also in shallots, yellow and red onions only but not in white onions), which is found on and near the skin and is particularly linked to the health benefits of onions.
Quercitin has been shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, raise good-type HDL cholesterol, ward off blood clots, fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections and is specifically linked to inhibiting human stomach cancer.
It’s also an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral, thought to have diverse anti-cancer powers. Quercitin is also a sedative. So far, there is no better food source of quercitin than onion skins.
Detoxify Your Body with Onions
Onions contain a variety of organic sulfur compounds that provide health benefits.
Sulfur-containing amino acids are found in onions as well as garlic and eggs.
These specific amino acids are called methionine and cystine and, among other things, they are very good at detoxifying your body from heavy metals.
In fact, they are able to latch on to mercury, cadmium and lead and escort them out of the body.
Vitamin C, also contained in onions, is excellent at detoxifying the body and is effective in removing lead, arsenic and cadmium. So increasing consumption of onions can help the body to get rid of these harmful metals.
Onions and the Heart
To help keep your blood free of clots, and make the most of the health benefits of onions, eat them both raw and cooked.
Prescribing onions for heart patients is hardly routine among cardiologists. But Harvard’s Dr. Victor Gurewich advises all his patients with coronary heart disease to eat onions daily.
Here are some of the things that onions can do for your heart:
- Boost beneficial HDL cholesterol
- Thin the blood
- Retard blood clotting
- Lower total blood cholesterol
- Lower triglycerides
- Lower blood pressure
One of my greatest frustrations, so far, is to travel abroad. How I envy those who could take a trip out of the country every time they want to.
If I had a choice, I’d like a trip around the Philippines first. I wish to see the Rice Terraces in Banaue, the Mayon Volcano in Bicol, the Chocolate Hills in Bohol and the Underground River in Palawan.
Then, when I had a chance to travel around Asia, I’d like to see the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal in India, and Ankor Wat in Cambodia. But if I were to go to Europe, the first I’d go to would be the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to visit one of the most romantic cities in the world. By simply checking out luxury vacation rentals paris france, choosing that which appeals to you most, then, you’re good to go and enjoy the fabulous dream of being in Paris, France.
Well, some dream, huh?
Lately, I’ve been experiencing occasional chest pains. Unfortunately, I can’t describe how I exactly feel. I’ve been searching the net for any idea what this might be, though I know, sooner or later I have to consult the doctor about it. For now, these are what I found.
Chest pain. The first thing you may think of is heart attack. Certainly chest pain is not something to ignore. But you should know that it has many possible causes. In fact, as much as a quarter of the U.S. population experiences chest pain that is not related to the heart. Chest pain may also be caused by problems in your lungs,esophagus, muscles, ribs, or nerves, for example. Some of these conditions are serious and life threatening. Others are not. If you have unexplained chest pain, the only way to confirm its cause is to have a doctor evaluate you.
You may feel chest pain anywhere from your neck to your upper abdomen. Depending on its cause, chest pain may be:
- A tight, squeezing, or crushing sensation
Here are some of the more common causes of chest pain.
Chest Pain Causes: Heart Problems
Although not the only cause of chest pain, these heart problems are common causes:
Angina. A blockage in the heart blood vessels that reduces blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle itself, causing pain but not permanent damage to the heart. The chest pain may spread to your arm, shoulder, jaw, or back. It may feel like a pressure or squeezing sensation. Chest pain from angina can be triggered by exercise, excitement, or emotional distress and is relieved by rest.
Myocardial infarction (heart attack). This reduction in blood flow through heart blood vessels causes the death of heart muscle cells. Though similar to angina chest pain, a heart attack is usually a more severe, crushing pain and is not relieved by rest. Sweating, nausea, or severe weakness may accompany the pain.
Myocarditis. In addition to chest pain, this heart muscle inflammation may cause fever, fatigue, and trouble breathing. Although no blockage exists, myocarditis symptoms can resemble those of a heart attack.
Pericarditis. This is an inflammation or infection of the sac around the heart. It can cause pain similar to that caused by angina. However, it often causes a sharp, steady pain along the upper neck and shoulder muscle. Sometimes it gets worse when you breathe, swallow food, or lie on your back.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes thickened. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood. Along with chest pain, this type of cardiomyopathy may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms.
Mitral valve prolapse. Mitral valve prolapse is a condition in which a valve in the heart fails to close properly. A variety of symptoms have been associated with mitral valve prolapse, including chest pain, palpitations, and dizziness, although it can also have no symptoms, especially if the prolapse is mild.
Coronary artery dissection. A variety of factors can cause this rare condition, which results when a tear develops in the coronary artery. It may cause a sudden severe pain with a tearing or ripping sensation that goes up into the neck, back, or abdomen.
I just arrived today from the province for my daughter’s parade. She was chosen to be one of the muses for our barangay fiesta back home in the province. In order to spare my youngest child of the inconvenience of the entire affair, I left him here in Manila. But when he saw the pictures on Facebook, he felt sad and left behind.
So, when I learned that there was an Iron Man Exhibit in SM Fairview, I told him to change clothes and off we went. I was tired but I felt I had to do it for him, so I did.
Well, the exhibit was nice, but Daryl wasn’t able to get any price. To make him feel better, I took him to Story Land where we played on token-operated games.
I got even more tired but I surely had fun with him..
Since I started having health problems, I tried to watch out what I eat and I began to eat an apple a day.
Image Source: Wikipedia
So, what are benefits of apples? (Article Source: Good Housekeeping)
1. They’re Slow Food
Firm and packed with fiber (5 grams, or 20 percent of your daily value), they demand a chewing commitment, giving your body time to register itself “full” before you scarf down too many calories. And the natural sweeteners in apples enter the bloodstream gradually, helping keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady so you feel full longer — the opposite of many sugary snacks, which produce a quick rush followed by a hunger-inducing crash.
2. They Help You Breathe Easy
Kids of women who ate the most apples while pregnant were less likely to wheeze or develop asthma by age 5, researchers from the United Kingdom found recently. The fruit may also protect the lungs of adults, lowering the risk of asthma, lung cancer, and other diseases.
3. They Zap Cholesterol
Thanks to two key components, pectin (a type of fiber) and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), apples can take a bite out of blood cholesterol levels and prevent the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol — the chemical process that turns it into artery-clogging plaque. The trick to maximizing the benefit: Don’t toss the peel; apple skin has two to six times the antioxidant compounds as the flesh.
4. They Fight Cancer
Lab studies have shown that several compounds in this juicy fruit curb the growth of cancer cells — but they’re most potent when the apple is eaten whole (minus the stem and seeds, of course). People who munch more than one a day lower their risk for several cancers (oral, esophageal, colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and others) by 9 to 42 percent, Italian researchers found.
5. They Make You Smarter
Possibly because they boost the production of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells, apples are now thought to keep your brain sharp as you age, enhance memory, and potentially lessen the odds of getting Alzheimer’s disease, suggests one recent animal study from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. With this sort of nutritious nosh at your disposal, it might be time to rethink the idea of a “smart cookie.”