Nutrition Expert- Saba Shaikh, Practicing Clinical Nutritionist, Mumbai.
Apples are a popular fruit, containing antioxidants, vitamins, dietary fiber, and a range of other nutrients. Due to their varied nutrient content, they may help prevent several health conditions.
Apples come in a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors and provide a range of nutrients that can benefit many different aspects of a person’s health.
For example, they may help reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and several other conditions.
Apples are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which benefit health. They also provide an array of antioxidants. These substances help neutralize free radicals.
Free radicals are reactive molecules that can build up as a result of natural processes and environmental pressures. If too many free radicals accumulate in the body, they can cause oxidative stress, and this can lead to cell damage. This damage can contribute to a range of conditions, including cancer and diabetes.
Apples contain a range of antioxidants, including: quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, chlorogenic acid (1)
Apples Are Nutritious
A medium apple with a diameter of about 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) equals 1.5 cups of fruit. Two cups of fruit daily are recommended on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Apples are also a rich source of polyphenols. While nutrition labels don’t list these plant compounds, they’re likely responsible for many of the health benefits.
To get the most out of apples, leave the skin on, it contains half of the fiber and many of the polyphenols.
Apples May Be Good for Weight Loss
Apples are high in fiber and water, two qualities that make them filling.
In one study, people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller than those who consumed applesauce, apple juice, or no apple products (3).
In the same study, those who started their meal with apple slices also ate an average of 200 fewer calories than those who didn’t (3)
Researchers think that apples are more filling because they’re less energy-dense, yet still deliver fiber and volume.
Apples May Be Good for Your Heart
Apples have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease (4).
One reason may be that apples contain soluble fiber the kind that can help lower your blood cholesterol levels.
They also contain polyphenols, which have antioxidant effects. Many of these are concentrated in the peel.
One of these polyphenols is the flavonoid epicatechin, which may lower blood pressure.
An analysis of studies found that high intakes of flavonoids were linked to a 20% lower risk of stroke (5).
Flavonoids can help prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing “bad” LDL oxidation, and acting as antioxidants
They’re Linked to a Lower Risk of Diabetes
Several studies have linked eating apples to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (6).
In one large study, eating an apple a day was linked to a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to not eating any apples. Even eating just a few apples per week had a similarly protective effect (7).
It’s possible that the polyphenols in apples help prevent tissue damage to beta cells in your pancreas. Beta cells produce insulin in your body and are often damaged in people with type 2 diabetes.
They May Have Prebiotic Effects and Promote Good Gut Bacteria
Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. This means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
Your small intestine doesn’t absorb fiber during digestion. Instead, it goes to your colon, where it can promote the growth of good bacteria. It also turns into other helpful compounds that circulate back through your body (4).
New research suggests that this may be the reason behind some of the protective effects of apples against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Substances in Apples May Help Prevent Cancer
Test-tube studies have shown a link between plant compounds in apples and a lower risk of cancer (7).
Additionally, one study in women reported that eating apples was linked to lower rates of death from cancer (8).
Scientists believe that their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may be responsible for their potential cancer-preventive effects (9).
Apples Contain Compounds That Can Help Fight Asthma
Antioxidant-rich apples may help protect your lungs from oxidative damage.
A large study in more than 68,000 women found that those who ate the most apples had the lowest risk of asthma. Eating about 15% of a large apple per day was linked to a 10% lower risk of this condition (7).
Apple skin contains the flavonoid quercetin, which can help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. These are two ways in which it may affect asthma and allergic reactions (10).
Apples are incredibly good for you, and eating them is linked to a lower risk of many major diseases, including diabetes and cancer.
It’s soluble fiber content may promote weight loss and gut health.
A medium apple equals 1.5 cups of fruit — which is 3/4 of the 2-cup daily recommendation for fruit.
For the greatest benefits, eat the whole fruit — both skin and flesh.