We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but these superfoods are proving to have even more health benefits than we might have known. Besides providing vitamins and nutrients that will boost immunity, adding apples and other fruits to your diet can also help prevent diabetes.
According to a research study published by The BMJ, eating more fruit will actually decrease your risk of developing diabetes — and it doesn’t take much! The researchers found that by increasing your fruit intake by 66 grams per day, you could lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25 percent — that’s as little as eating one small apple a day.
For the study, European researchers looked at around 25,000 participants from eight European countries. After follow-ups, about 10,000 volunteers had developed new-onset type 2 diabetes. The researchers examined the blood levels of Vitamin C and carotenoid (pigments found in colorful fruits and vegetables) in that group, as well in those who remained diabetes-free and found: “After adjusting for lifestyle, social, and dietary risk factors for diabetes, higher blood levels of each of vitamin C and carotenoids and their sum when combined into a ‘composite biomarker score’ were associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”
Eating more fruits might have its benefits because unlike processed fruit juice, whole fresh fruit contains higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids. Fresh fruit also contains fiber, which helps the body slowly process the nutrients and prevents a blood sugar spike. (Of course, more fresh fruit might not be recommended for everyone with diabetes. Be sure to speak with your doctor to determine what dietary changes are best for you.)
Apples not your thing? Ten baby carrots will do the trick, or simply increasing your daily intake of any fruit or vegetable. Making this simple, and tasty, diet change can have major positive impacts on your health down the line. Whether it’s crunching on an apple, making a fruit smoothie, or enjoying some leafy greens, adding a little color to your plate will go a long way, so dig in!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.