It doesn’t get much better than a sweet, crispy, crunchy opal or honey crisp apple when you’re craving something sweet and satisfying. Apples like many other fruits, are loaded with valuable phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals. The health benefits of eating apples span from protecting against chronic disease to improving overall health and wellness. Turns out the proverb “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” has more truth to it than you might think.
We all know what apples are, but what we don’t know, perhaps are the valuable micronutrients that apples contain. Nutrient content will slightly vary between different types of apples, however on average a medium sized apple, at 100g roughly contains
Apples provide 2-6% of the daily recommended value of manganese, copper, potassium, vitamin a, e, c, k, B1, B2, and B6. They’re also rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of powerful plant compound, or phytonutrient which acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals, and eradicating the formation of oxidative stress, protecting you from chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Polyphenols can be categorized into four different groups, however the polyphenols found in apples, are classified as flavonoids. Apples contain a range of flavonoids including
- chlorogenic acid
4 Apple Benefits That Can Improve Overall Health
1. Apples May Be Good for Weight Loss
Apples are rich with water and fiber, two qualities which makes them more filling. Studies have shown that consuming fruit leads to a greater reduction in hunger ratings than consuming the same amount in other forms such as juice, or apple sauce [R]. Achieving a caloric deficit, or eating fewer calories, than what you expend throughout the day, is crucial to achieve weight loss. Therefore, eating foods such as apples, which increase satiety will help achieve your weight loss goals.
A study published in the Journal Appetite found that consuming apples, lead study participants to eat an average of 200 fewer calories, than those who did not [R]. Apples are a great food for weight loss, because compared to other foods with similar macronutrient content, apples contain fewer calories yet still deliver fiber and more volume.
2. Apples May Support Heart Health
Research has shown that apples may benefit heart health. Apples contain a robust amount of fiber, as well as polyphenols, which have both been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
A meta-analysis published in The Journal Of Nutrition investigating the effects of dietary flavanols found that high intakes of foods with polyphenols reduced the risk of stroke by 21% [R].
Studies have shown that eating an apple per day, can help maintain steady and healthy cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber can help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
3. Apples Can Aid Digestion
Apples have both insoluble and soluble fiber, which are important for digestive health. Soluble fiber acts as a gel and attracts water which helps slow down digestion, while also slowing down the digestion of glucose, allowing you to feel fuller and controlling your blood sugar. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in the gastrointestinal tract, and therefore is not absorbed, speeding up the movement of waste by adding more bulk to your stool.
Research indicates that fiber also has a positive effect on gut health by restoring healthy gut bacteria and increasing the production of intestinal epithelial cells. This can prevent inflammation and aid in weight loss [R].
4. Apples May Lower Your Risk Of Diabetes
Several studies have shown that apples may lower the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes. In fact, a comprehensive review of apples and their relation to human health, found that eating 2-6 apples per week, reduced the risk of diabetes by 28% [R]. In a large ongoing trial, The Women’s Health Study, flavonoid intake was also associated with risk of diabetes and related markers of insulin resistance and inflammation [R].
Apple Benefits: Takeaway
Adding an apple a day to your nutrition plan, can help improve overall health, by reducing your risk of chronic disease, obesity, and improving digestive health. Apples can have a profound impact on weight loss, by helping you feel fuller, and reducing total caloric intake. Loaded with valuable phytonutrients, vitamins and fiber, the health benefits of eating an apple a day, can definitely keep the doctor away.
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Flood-Obbagy, Julie E, and Barbara J Rolls. “The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal.” Appetite vol. 52,2 (2009): 416-22. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2008.12.001
de Oliveira MC, Sichieri R, Venturim Mozzer R. A low-energy-dense diet adding fruit reduces weight and energy intake in women. Appetite. 2008 Sep;51(2):291-5. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.03.001. Epub 2008 Mar 7. PMID: 18439712.
Peter C. H. Hollman, Anouk Geelen, Daan Kromhout, Dietary Flavonol Intake May Lower Stroke Risk in Men and Women, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 140, Issue 3, March 2010, Pages 600–604, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.109.116632