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Top 9 Extraordinary Health Benefits of Eating Apples
(Credit: Pixabay)
Health Nature

Top 9 Extraordinary Health Benefits of Eating Apples

All apples offer multiple health benefits – from sweet red varieties, like Fuji, Red Delicious, or Gala, to tangy green ones, like Granny Smith. According to Sarah Gold Anzlovar, RDN, the owner of Sarah Gold Nutrition, “The nutrition and antioxidant content will vary slightly from one apple to another — the best one to eat is the kind you enjoy.”

Apples are commonly used in sweet recipes, including pastries, pies, muffins, cookies, oatmeal, jam, or smoothies. And they add a delicious touch to savory foods like grilled cheese sandwiches, apple-ham quiche, salads, cornbread-stuffed baked apples, and pulled chicken with apples in the slow cooker. They also make a tasty snack on their own raw, baked, or wedged and smeared with nut butter.

Aside from their culinary versatility, apples are an incredibly nutritious fruit with many research-backed benefits. So, after learning about the following nine astonishing health benefits of apples, the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” will make perfect sense.

1. Highly Nutritious

Apples are nutrient-dense fruits, which means that each serving contains many nutrients. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 cups of fruit per day, with whole fruits like apples being preferred.

Apples are very nutritious
(Credit: Pixabay)

The following nutrients are found in a medium 7-ounce (200-gram) apple:

  • Calories: 104
  • Carbs: 28 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Potassium: 5% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Copper: 6% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 4% of the DV
  • Vitamins E, B1, and B6: 2–5% of the DV

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, while vitamin B1 (commonly known as thiamine) is required for growth and development, and vitamin B6 is needed for protein metabolism.

Apples are also high in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells from free radicals, which are damaging molecules that promote the growth of chronic conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

While these plant compounds are not included on nutrition labels, they’re most likely responsible for many apples’ health benefits. When eating apples, leave the skin on since it contains most polyphenols and half of the fiber.

Interestingly, polyphenols are also abundant in aloe vera and cranberries.

2. May Reduce Tooth Decay

Eating apples can’t replace your daily oral hygiene routine, but it can give it a boost. Biting and chewing an apple can reduce tooth decay by increasing saliva production and lowering bacteria levels in your mouth.

3. May Aid Weight Loss

Apples are abundant in fiber and water, contributing to their filling properties. Increased fullness is a weight-loss technique since it helps you control your hunger. As a result, you may use less energy.

Apples may contribute to weight loss
(Credit: Pixabay)

In one study, eating whole apples caused people to feel fuller for up to 4 hours longer than eating apple juice or purée. This happens because whole apples slow down gastric emptying, which is the pace at which your stomach empties its contents.

But that’s not all; research has also shown that apple consumption may significantly lower BMI (Body Mass Index), a weight-related risk factor for heart disease. In addition, apple polyphenols may also have anti-obesity properties.

4. Could Be Beneficial to Your Heart

Apples have been related to a decreased risk of heart disease. One reason could be that they have soluble fiber in them. This type of fiber can aid in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Another explanation could be because they provide polyphenols. Some of them, like the flavonoid epicatechin, may reduce blood pressure.

High flavonoid intake has also been associated with a lower risk of stroke in studies. Furthermore, flavonoids can help prevent heart disease by reducing LDL cholesterol oxidation, blood pressure, and atherosclerosis – the plaque buildup in your arteries.

Another study found that consuming white-fleshed vegetables and fruits, such as apples and pears, lowers the risk of stroke. Impressively, the risk of stroke was reduced by 9% for every 1/5 cup (25 grams) of apple slices consumed each day.

Apples may contribute to better heart health

5. Linked to a Lower Diabetes Risk

Apples may lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A compilation of studies indicated that consuming apples and pears reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 18%. In addition, the researchers found that it only takes one serving per week to lower type 2 diabetes risk by 3%!

This beneficial impact could be due to their high content of phloridzin and the antioxidant polyphenols quercetin. Phloridzin is thought to inhibit sugar uptake in the intestines, resulting in a lower blood sugar load and thus a lower risk of diabetes. Meanwhile, the anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin may help to lower insulin resistance, a significant risk factor for diabetes.

6. May Improve Gut Health

Apples contain pectin, a prebiotic fiber. This means it feeds your gut microbiome (the healthy bacteria). Your gut microbiota plays a crucial role in your general health and well-being since it is involved in various tasks connected to health and disease. Therefore, a healthy gut is typically a critical element to improved health.

Pectin reaches your colon intact since dietary fiber cannot be processed, boosting the growth of beneficial bacteria. In addition, it improves the ratio of Bacteriodetes to Firmicutes, the two types of bacteria that live in your gut. According to new research, apples may help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer by positively modifying your gut microbiome.

Granny Smith apples
Granny Smith apples. (Credit: Pixabay)

7. Might Prevent Cancer

Apples contain antioxidants that may help protect against certain cancers, including oral cavity, lungs, breast, and digestive tract cancers. According to test-tube studies, these effects may be attributed to apple polyphenols preventing cancerous cells from proliferating.

Furthermore, one study of women found that eating more apples was connected to a reduced risk of cancer death. Apples’ fiber content could play a role in their cancer-fighting abilities. Another test-tube study discovered that apple pectin fiber could slow the growth of cancerous cells and even cause them to die.

However, further research on humans is required to understand better the probable link between apples and cancer prevention, such as determining the right amount and when to eat them.

8. Could Fight Asthma

Apples may protect your lungs from oxidative damage due to their high antioxidant levels. However, free radicals can cause oxidative damage, leading to inflammatory and allergenic responses in your body.

Apple skin is high in the antioxidant quercetin, which can aid immune system regulation and inflammation reduction. This might theoretically make apples beneficial in the late stages of bronchial asthma responses. Test-tube and animal studies back this up, suggesting quercetin could be a promising treatment for allergic inflammatory conditions, including asthma and sinusitis.

Other substances in apples, such as proanthocyanidins, may also help lessen or prevent allergic asthma airway inflammation. Still, additional human research on the subject is required.

9. Could Aid in Brain Protection

Quercetin in apples may also protect your brain from oxidative stress-induced damage. Research in lab rats revealed that quercetin’s antioxidant effects might protect the brain and nerves from oxidative damage and prevent injuries that can lead to degenerative brain illnesses, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, quercetin may help prevent stress-related nerve damage by regulating oxidative and inflammatory stress indicators.

However, most studies focus on a single chemical rather than whole apples. As a result, more research is required before any conclusions can be drawn.

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