No, it's not acai berries. Or guava. Or even pomegranates. According to health expert Kathy Freston, author of The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss, it's something you probably already have in your kitchen: the apple.
Freston says that there may be something to the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" after all. In fact, eating an apple a day is so important, it's the single piece of simple advice Freston includes on Day 3 of her plan, in which she asks readers to adopt one additional change each day over the course of a month. Here's why:
- Snacking on apples "crowds out" other unhealthy foods from your diet.
- Research suggests that people who eat one or more apples per day have a lower risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon and ovarian cancer.
- Each apple contributes about 4.4 grams of fiber toward women's daily goal of 25 grams of fiber/day. Fiber is critical for weight loss, as it helps keep us feeling full and satisfied and aids in good digestion. What's more, pectin–a type of fiber found in apples–may delay stomach-emptying, and be superior to other types of fiber in delaying hunger.
- Apples are portable, keep well and are easy to grab when you're hungry.
Apples make a perfect snack, but could also work as an appetizer of sorts if you're aiming to lose weight: One study showed that women who ate an apple before meals were more likely to lose weight than women who didn't.