You've probably heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well a recent study suggests that a couple of apples a day might keep the neurologist away.
"Apples have just the right dose of antioxidants to raise levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that's essential to memory and tends to decline with age," says Tom Shea, PhD, director of the University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Cellular Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research.
Antioxidants help preserve memory by protecting brain cells against damage from free radicals. A study on mice at Cornell University found that the quercetin in apples may protect brain cells from the kind of free radical damage that may lead to Alzheimer's disease.
A study Shea coauthored with Amy Chan, PhD, published last year in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found that mice suffering from the equivalent of normal human age-related memory loss or early Alzheimer's disease got a memory boost when they consumed a daily dose of apple juice. After just 1 month, those mice did a far superior job on a maze, which tests short-term memory, than the animals that didn't get the drink.
Besides helping your memory and protecting your brain, apples have also been shown to lower your risk for many cancers.
Shea recommends consuming two-to-three apples or one-to-two 8 ounce glasses of apple juice each day.