5 reasons to add apples to your diet

The apple, in its many varieties, is full of health benefits. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 June 2020

5 reasons to add apples to your diet

DUBAI: Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Fit Squad DXB, shares her expert advice on the superfood that will help you lead a longer and healthier life.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” might be a common saying, but this cheap and easily available fruit rarely makes it onto trendy ‘superfood’ lists. The truth is that the apple, in its many varieties, is full of health benefits. So be sure to grab one whenever you fancy a snack. You can also add apples to your breakfast bowls or smoothies. Read on to discover some of the amazing properties of the fruit.

Fights cancer

Apples (especially the skin) have more antioxidants than nearly all other fruits and vegetables, making them a ‘super’ superfood when it comes to fighting cancer. A number of studies found that eating one or more apples a day, as opposed to any other fruit, helped lower the risk of colorectal cancer. Other studies have shown that apples can also help in preventing lung and prostate cancer.

With less than 100 calories per apple, it’s a more filling snack than a single biscuit with the same calories. (Shutterstock)

Lowers the risk of stroke

A study carried out on almost 10,000 people over the age of 28 found that those who ate the most apples were less likely to have thrombotic stroke. This could be linked to the fact that apples contain around 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber, which another review found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Aids weight loss

With less than 100 calories per apple, it’s a more filling snack than a single biscuit with the same calories. It’s also a great starter. A study found that people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller and went on to consume 200 fewer calories during the meal itself. Compounds in apples (particularly Granny Smiths) also help feed healthy gut bacteria, potentially lowering the risk of some obesity-related problems.

Apples are rich in a variety of antioxidants. Shutterstock

Helps with brain health

Apples are rich in a variety of antioxidants including quercetin, which has been shown to have a protective effect on nerve cells, helping them survive and continue to function. A 2015 animal study found that a high dose of the antioxidant could protect from the damage that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.

Lowers risk of Type 2 diabetes

Micronutrients called polyphenols, which are abundant in apples, are thought to prevent tissue damage to the cells that produce insulin. These beta cells are usually damaged in people with Type 2 diabetes. One study found that eating an apple a day was linked to a 28 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, compared to not eating any. Even eating just a few apples per week had a similar effect.

How to travel post-COVID-19

Updated 07 July 2020

How to travel post-COVID-19

  • As borders begin to re-open in the Middle East and around the world, here is how to deal with traveling in a post-pandemic world

DUBAI: When it comes to the Middle East, July seems to be a marker. From Bahrain to Egypt, Morocco to Dubai, borders are tentatively opening, with plans to jumpstart tourism a sign of better days to come. But still, a question hangs heavy. Even if we are now allowed to travel, will the experience ever really be the same again?

From where you can go to how much it will cost, what you can do there to a fear of going in the first place, the very essence of travel stands on the precipice, and we are all at risk of a lesser life experience because of it.

For Dubai-based, Euronews Travel TV presenter Sarah Hedley-Hymers, the biggest repercussion is the resulting knowledge hit. “Traveling makes me hyper-attentive,” she said. “The newness of places stimulates all the senses. I’m like Bradley Cooper in the movie ‘Limitless,’ absorbing different destinations like a sponge, expanding with the knowledge of it all, energized by the novelty. Not traveling feels like a protracted comedown.”

But while COVID-19 may have grounded the first half of 2020, the green shoots of recovery are slowly creeping through the cracks. Tentatively, travel is once more an option, but if you are planning post-pandemic travel, preparation is paramount.

Where can I travel to?
June saw much of Europe slowly re-open its doors, albeit with entry generally restricted to EU nationals or returning residents. In the Middle East, July 1 saw airports open in Egypt and Lebanon, along with tourism facilities in Turkey. Dubai will welcome visitors from July 7, Morocco from July 11, and Bahrain hopes to re-open the King Fahd Causeway — and its border with Saudi Arabia — by the end of the month.

Tourists from around the world stepped foot in the UAE for the first time in nearly four months on July 7. Shutterstock

The re-openings are fluid, with plans changing daily. Best advice? Check carefully ahead of any trip. There is a good chance that restrictions will still apply, both with the country you are heading to and the one you are departing from.

Will air travel be more expensive post-COVID-19?
As fleets have lay grounded for months, the big fear was that airlines would have to charge extortionate fares in order to recoup losses. Thankfully, the opposite might be true.

“With regards to the cost of travel, views currently vary and it’s difficult to accurately predict airline strategies,” said Ciarán Kelly, managing director of the Middle East & Africa Network at FCM Travel Solutions. “But some people expect fares to stay low as airlines struggle to get customers back on board.

“Whether it’s a free checked bag on your flight, discount vouchers — as we’ve seen already from Etihad — free wifi or other incentives, airlines are going to have to do everything they can to get people back into the skies.

“Of course on the flip side, faced with huge losses to make up and potentially emptier planes, they could go the other way and raise ticket prices. But even if that happens, it’s also likely they’ll adopt more lenient change and cancelation policies, as has been seen over the last few weeks.”

What if I am scared to travel?
A perhaps unexpected repercussion of COVID-19 on travel is a fear of staying safe. A recent poll by Mower, an independent marketing, advertising and public relations agency in the US, found that only 16 percent of Americans would be comfortable flying again once restrictions were eased. For Reem Shaheen, counseling psychologist at Dubai’s Be Psychology Center, the key to allaying fear is preparation.
“Apart from concerns over the virus, the overwhelming worry at the moment is access. Most people are struggling to not only figure out a travel destination with open borders, but also if they’re able to return to their country of residency,” she said.

Most people are struggling to not only figure out a travel destination with open borders, but also if they’re able to return to their country of residency. Shutterstock

“I believe that the fuel of this fear lies in the feeling of helplessness. The best way to manage that is by gathering as much information as possible. This could be by knowing where the hospitals are, preparing for a safe return to your country of residence, or simply learning the protocols on social distancing of the country that you’re heading to. Working to gain control over situations within your power will help reduce the fear and anxiety triggered by traveling during the pandemic.”

When should I travel again?
While open borders might signify an invitation to travel, the reality is that things might take a little longer before the world is comfortable in transit once more. But while your travel experience might now be a little different, you would hope that the opportunity to embrace new experiences will once again prove too good to resist.

Travel equates to more than the sum of its parts, not just the act of being there but the attributes it brings. Patience, acceptance, kindness and curiosity — those are the traits that you pick up on the road, and without the ability to move freely, we are all missing out. Plus, as Hedley-Hymers said: “If nothing else, it’s always nice to find a corner of the world that doesn’t have a McDonald’s on it.”