You’ve heard it from your parents or grandparents. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. When we were kids, we dismissed this statement as a mindless expression, never fully understanding just how good apples are for our bodies.
Apples are among the most popular types of fruit in the world. They are the fruit of the apple tree (Malus domestica), originally from Central Asia, and are grown all over the world. Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C and various antioxidants. They are also very filling, considering their low calorie content. Studies show that eating apples can have multiple benefits for health. They taste delicious on their own and are usually eaten raw, but they are also used in various recipes, juices and drinks.
One medium-sized apple only contains about 90 calories, with most of the energy coming from carbs. (Remember, these are beneficial carbs that burn naturally, not manufactured carbs that sit in your body rotting!) They are loaded with Omega 3s and incredibly good for you. Apples are a high-water fruit, making them easy to burn off, yet keep you full and satisfied for a number of hours.
Carbohydrate Levels in Apples:
Despite their high carbohydrate and sugar content, the glycemic index is fairly low, ranging from 29 to 44. The glycemic index is a measure of how food affects the rise in blood sugar levels after eating. Low values are associated with various health benefits. Fruit often scores low on the glycemic index, probably due to their high fiber and polyphenol content that helps slow down carbohydrate digestion.
Apples are very rich in fiber. A single medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fiber, about 17% of the recommended daily intake. A portion of their fiber content is made up of both insoluble and soluble fibers called pectin. Soluble fiber has been associated with numerous beneficial effects on health, partly mediated by their effect on the friendly bacteria in the intestine.
Fiber may also help improve satiety and cause weight loss, while lowering blood sugar levels and improving the function of the digestive system. Apples are mainly made up of carbs and water. They also contain fiber, which moderates blood sugar levels and promotes colon health.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Apples contain many vitamins and minerals, but not in high amounts. However, apples are usually a good source of vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is a common antioxidant in fruits and is an essential dietary nutrient that has many important functions in the body.
The main mineral in apples. High intake of potassium may have beneficial effects for heart health. Apples contain decent amounts of potassium. Combined with vitamin C, apples are great for the immunity and can aid with aches and even arthritis.
Apples are high in various antioxidant plant compounds, which are responsible for many of their health benefits. Here are the main compounds:
A nutrient found in some plant foods, shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies
A natural antioxidant, also found in large amounts in green tea. Shown to improve brain and muscle function in animal studies.
• Chlorogenic Acid:
Also found in coffee, chlorogenic acid has been shown to lower blood sugar and cause weight loss in some studies.
Apple and Weight Loss:
There are two properties of apples that make them a weight loss friendly food. They are high in fiber and low in energy density. Both of these have been shown to lead to reduced calorie intake and significant weight loss in the long-term. In one study, women who were instructed to eat 10 ounces (or 1.5 large apples) per day lost 2.9 lbs over a period of 12 weeks!
For this reason, eating apples may be a useful addition to a weight loss diet, especially if eaten between or before meals. Apples may be an effective component of a healthy weight loss diet, largely due to the fiber and low calorie content.
Blood Sugar Control & Type 2 Diabetes:
There is some evidence that eating apples can help lower blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes. This makes sense given the fiber content, but apples (probably because of the fiber) have been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels. Some of the antioxidants in apples also appear to be able to slow down digestion of sugars, so that they get absorbed slower In one study of approx. 38,000 women, eating 1 or more apples per day was linked to a 28% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Studies indicate that eating apples may help protect against diabetes.
Blood Cholesterol & Heart Disease:
Several studies have looked at the effect of apples on risk factors for heart disease. They show that apples can reduce total cholesterol levels and lead to drastic reductions in plaque buildup inside the arteries, as much as 50%! They can also reduce incidents of heart attacks or strokes – 43% lower in women, and 19% lower in men, for those who consumed more than 54 grams (1.9 ounces) of apples per day. Apples are rich in healthy antioxidants and fibers, which may make them protective against heart disease
Natural Cancer Fighter:
Numerous studies in test tubes have shown that apples, apple juice, or some of the plant compounds in apples, can have anti-cancer effects. There have also been some animal studies showing that apple phytonutrients can protect against cancers of the lungs and colon. In a study titled “Does an apple a day keep the oncologist away?“, those who consumed 1 or more apples per day were at a lower risk of getting cancer, including a 20% lower risk of colorectal cancer and 18% lower risk of breast cancer. As a good source of several antioxidants, apples may lower the risk of cancer!
Apples are Generally Well-Tolerated:
Apples are mainly well-tolerated by most people, however, they may cause problems for people with irritable bowel syndrome, as apples contain complex carbohydrates that are known to upset the digestive system in sensitive people. Many people do quite well with organic apple cider vinegar, due to the healing effects of the natural fermentation process.
Those with Fructose Intolerance:
Apples are generally considered healthy, but they can cause digestive problems in sensitive people due to the natural fructose content. Nevertheless, apples are healthy, tasty and among the most popular fruits in the world. They are a good source of fibers and several antioxidants. Regular consumption of apples may improve heart health, and cut the risk of cancer and diabetes. They may also be useful as part of a weight loss diet.
If you want to eat healthy, eat your apples. They are nature’s internal fountain of earth and will make you feel awesome if you incorporate them into your diet regularly!