"An apple a day will keep the doctor away." I'm sure we've all heard that old adage, but is there any truth in it? Maybe not as much as keeping the doctor away for good, but there is definitely some healthy benefits that make eating and consuming apples and apple products a good reason to include them as part of your daily routine.

We're all taught as children that apples are a healthy alternative to other not-so-good foods, like candy and chips - things with too much sugar and/or salt. There's a good reason behind this push for apples, too: kids are more active and use more oxygen for their activities, and apples support not only lung and heart health, but they can significantly lower the risk of asthma for people of all age groups. Each apple you consume contains flavonoids that are special to that apple in particular, and combined with antioxidants and fiber, you're strengthening your lungs and body without even knowing it!

And, speaking of heart health, did you know that apples help protect your body from oxygen-related problems related to our cardiovascular system? They sure do! Apples contain loads of antioxidants, which are needed to help pump thousands of gallons of blood through our hearts each day. If our hearts don't have blood properly circulating, then we lose oxygen that comes with blood flow, which is necessary to breathe and live. Most of the healthy antioxidants are in the apple skin, so don't automatically peel it away before eating. Savor that crunch and protect yourself!

Did you also know that apples can lower the risk of certain types of cancer if consumed daily? They sure can! In fact, it's been proven that the risk for lung cancer especially is lowered when apples become part of your fruit consumption every day. This research is still in fairly early stages, but it's looking like other types of cancer risks are also reduced significantly when you eat apples, cancers like breast or colon. Eat up! No one wants to suffer the painful side effects and ravages of these cancers, so why not use apples to the best of their advantage?

If all of this information wasn't enough to convince you apples are a wonderful source of fiber, antioxidants and cancer-fighting agents for your body, consider this: apples are also better than caffeine at waking you up in the morning! While they contain no caffeine themselves, they do contain the glucose your body needs to feel awake and alert. They also contain about 20 grams of carbohydrates per fruit; while that's not quite the same amount as a candy bar, or a cup of sugary hot chocolate, it's enough to boost your cells that store and process energy, making you feel alert and ready to face the day. They're also great for a mid-afternoon snack if you need a little pick-me-up. Apples are just a great way to strengthen your body and feel good about yourself. Fruit, juice or sauce, get yourself some apples and have a good day!