Apple Skins: The Secret Ingredient for Strong Muscles?

Have you ever found yourself peeling an apple before eating it or giving it to your child? You might want to think twice about removing that nutritious skin. Researchers at the University of Iowa have found that apple peels contain a compound that helps prevent muscle loss. Muscle wasting is a common side effect of aging and illness, making it difficult for people to recover from injuries or sickness. By keeping your apples whole and intact, you may be able to help maintain your muscle strength.

Breakthrough in Ursolic Acid Research

The compound responsible for apple peels’ muscle-preserving properties is called ursolic acid. Although it has long been known that apples are rich in various nutrients, the discovery of ursolic acid’s role in muscle health is groundbreaking. Christopher Adams, the study’s lead author, says, “Muscle wasting is a frequent companion of illness and aging. It prolongs hospitalization, delays recoveries and, in some cases, prevents people from going back home. It isn’t well understood, and there is no medicine for it.”

In a study conducted on mice, researchers found that those fed food supplemented with ursolic acid had increased muscle mass compared to a control group. The mice in the ursolic acid group also showed decreased blood sugar, cholesterol, body fat, and triglycerides. The team is now working to determine whether the compound would benefit humans and what dosage would be required for efficacy.

How to Incorporate Apple Peels in Your Diet

There’s a simple solution to taking advantage of ursolic acid’s benefits: eat apples with their skin on. Simply wash the fruit thoroughly and cut it into pieces, or enjoy it whole. By doing this, you’ll not only maximize the potential health benefits but also reduce food waste.

However, if you’re still not a fan of eating apples whole, try grating the apple – skin included – and adding it to your morning oatmeal, yogurt, or cereal. The tangy flavor of grated apple combined with the satisfying crunch from the peel adds an interesting texture to your meal, and you’ll still reap the benefits of ursolic acid.

If you prefer snacking on apples throughout the day, consider slicing an apple with its skin still on and dipping the slices in peanut butter, almond butter, or even Nutella for a bit of indulgence. Keep the skin intact to preserve nutrients and add an extra kick of flavor.

For a more savory take, try adding grated apple (again, with the skin on) to your favorite coleslaw recipe. The apple will blend beautifully with the cabbage and other veggies, adding natural sweetness that complements the tangy dressing.

No matter how you choose to enjoy your apples, remember that the skin is an essential component for maintaining muscle strength and overall health. Next time you grab an apple, think twice before removing that nutritious skin.

More Than Just Apple Peels: Other Foods Rich in Ursolic Acid

Although apple peels are a great source of ursolic acid, they aren’t the only food that contains this beneficial compound. Various herbs, such as basil and oregano, contain ursolic acid as well. Incorporating these ingredients in your cooking can help give your meals a flavorful boost and provide additional muscle-preserving benefits.

Specifically, ursolic acid can be found in the following foods:

  • Basil: Widely used in Italian cooking, basil packs a punch of ursolic acid. Add it to pizza, pasta dishes, or salads, or make your own homemade pesto for a delicious and healthy condiment.

  • Oregano: Another Mediterranean herb, oregano is often found in dishes like lasagna, spaghetti, and Caprese salad. You can also use it as a seasoning in marinades, salad dressings, and roasted vegetables.

  • Thyme: Popular in Mediterranean and French cuisine, thyme pairs well with fish, chicken, and turkey, elevating the flavor of these proteins while also providing ursolic acid. Try using it in soups, stews, or roasted vegetable dishes for an added depth of flavor.

  • Rosemary: Ideal for roasting meats or vegetables, Rosemary provides not only an aromatic and delicious flavor but also contains ursolic acid. Use it to season potatoes, lamb, and poultry or add it to bread dough for a unique twist on your favorite recipes.

Incorporating these herbs and eating apple peels whole can help you effortlessly add ursolic acid to your diet, promoting muscle preservation and improving overall health. So, next time you’re in the kitchen, consider adding one or more of these flavorful, nutrient-dense ingredients to your meals.