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Can I eat all the fruits and vegetables I want and still lose weight?
While you can and should snack, I don't think that you should eat all you want. Your idea of eating fruit is great but keep an eye on the calories. Snacking is really important to keep you from being hungry and your choice of fruits is a great one. 

Is it true that I shouldn't eat fruit for 30 minutes before or after a meal?
The ideas of timing of fruit (as well as a lot of other ingredients) in weight loss are myth. I am not sure how these old wives' tales get started, but there's no science to support these concepts. Eating fruit is a great way to be healthier and lose weight, no matter what the timing of your meals are.

Why are fruit and nuts good for you?
Nuts are great for you. While they do have a lot of calories, these are the best quality calories because they are high in monounsaturated fat. Nuts have been shown to be very satisfying and this makes them a great choice for snacking. Instead of potato chips or crackers, have nuts. 


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An apple a day really does keep you healthy

I have previously written about research showing that there may be truth in the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." The investigations have been based on speculation that the antioxidants in apples help protect the body in some way. A group of researchers at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine are trying to find out how this may work (Exp Biol Med 2006(5);231:594-598).

Their research centers on the antioxidant flavonoids found in apples. There has been a lot of study along these lines, including research with chocolate, fruits, veggies, and green tea, which are also rich in flavonoids. These chemicals appear to target compounds in the body that cause DNA damage called free radicals. By inactivating the free radicals, flavonoid compounds may help ward off conditions that involve inflammation, like heart disease and some cancers.

Eric Gershwin and his team created a mash from a variety of apples purchased at the grocery store, including Fiji, Golden and Red Delicious, and Granny Smiths. They then suspended the types of cells that line blood vessels in the extract of the apples and apple juice. These endothelial cells were then exposed to a chemical called Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF). TNF is found in our bodies and has long been known to trigger inflammation and control the death of cells. It appears that the apple mash extract protected the cells by inhibiting the effect of the TNF.

The researchers feel that the flavonoids somehow hinder the communication between the TNF and the cells, thus blocking inflammation.

What this means for you

Apples are good. We know that. They are low in calories, have lots of fiber and taste great. They make a terrific snack. Research like this is important because it offers insight as to how the inflammatory process in the body can be blocked by eating great food.

First posted: June 14, 2006