The Healthy Snack that May Help You Live Longer

Learn about a helpful substance in apples that research says may extend the average lifespan by 10 percent.

An apple a day doesn’t just keep the doctor away, it may also help extend your life. A new study in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that a substance in apples increases the lifespans of fruit flies by 10 percent. Fruit flies are common stand-ins for humans in longevity trials.

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that antioxidants from apples (called polyphenols) could not only prolong the lifespan of fruit flies, it also helped preserve their ability to walk, climb, and move around.

Antioxidants, most common in fruits and vegetables, fight damage done by substances called free radicals, which contribute to the aging process. A study on humans found that women who often ate apples have a 13 to 22 percent decrease in the risk of heart disease.

Other foods rich in antioxidants include: blueberries, broccoli, red beans, cranberries, artichokes, blackberries, prunes, and pecans.

So next time you’re in the mood for a snack, reach for an apple.

Sources: Science Daily, American Chemical Society, WebMD

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest