The mighty apple is a nutritious fruit, and potentially the most popular fruit. You can easily eat them on the go, pack them as healthy snacks, add them to smoothies or salads, or enjoy them cooked or in desserts. What most people don’t know is that eating apples regularly over time can provide a significant health boost. Below, we detail some of the most impressive health benefits of apples. Hopefully, these benefits convince you to buy a bushel at the market!
Various studies have concluded that apples are naturally rich in fiber, water (about 85%), and antioxidants. Nutritionists categorize apples as nutritionally dense fruits, providing a lot of nutrients per serving. The average medium apple offers the following nutrients:
- Calories: 104
- Fiber: 5 grams (g)
- Carbohydrates: 28 g
- Vitamin C: 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Vitamin K: 4% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Copper: 6% of the RDI
Apples Help Support Heart Function
Apples are rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidant compounds that help reduce inflammation in the body. Although inflammation is beneficial in certain circumstances (when you have a cold, for example), chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of heart disease. One study examined 38,000 women and divided them into two groups. One group ate an apple a day and one didn’t. Those who ate an apple a day experienced a 22% lower risk of heart disease compared to those who did not eat apples.
Apples May Aid Weight Loss
Apples are low in calories and high in fiber, making them an ideal food for weight loss. The fiber helps you feel full and satisfied. One study found that eating whole apples increased feelings of fullness more than consuming equal parts apple juice. In a separate study conducted on overweight women, those who ate apples before their meals lost an average of 2.9 pounds over a 12-week period.
Apples Help Improve Gut Health.
The body contains trillions of microorganisms, most of which inhabit the gut or live on the skin. Some bacteria are beneficial and some are not. Apples provide the body with pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut and help optimize digestive function. Apples also contain quercetin, which stops the growth of harmful microorganisms in the gut. One study monitored people who ate apples daily for four weeks, and the results indicated increased levels of Bifidobacteria, a type of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Apples May Help Prevent Cancer
Apples contain triterpenoids, which are compounds that exhibit anti-cancer properties. One study found that eating apple peel extract reduced the growth of breast cancer cells by up to 43%. Other research suggests that certain antioxidants in apples may fight against lung, breast, and digestive tract cancers. Researchers attribute these abilities to the polyphenols that keep cancer cells from multiplying.
Apples Can Improve Lung Function
Due to the presence of quercetin, apples may help reduce lung decline. In fact, researchers note that apple consumption can even reduce lung damage caused by smoking. One study conducted on 1,600 adults found that those who ate five or more servings of apples per week experienced better lung function compared to those who didn’t eat apples.
Apples Can Boost Brain Function
A meta-analysis of 14 different animal studies found that quercetin may have preventative properties against Alzheimer’s disease. In other studies, quercetin flavonoid exhibited neuroprotective properties. Additionally, one study found that quercetin improved cognitive performance and reduced inflammation in rats with Alzheimer’s disease.