Apples are the most popular fruit in the United States — after all, what’s more American than apple pie? Not only are apples tasty (there’s a reason why some varieties even have “delicious” in their name!), but they have plenty of health benefits, too.
How do you like them apples? Here are eight good reasons why you should like them a lot.
One large 8-ounce apple including the skin has 130 fat free calories. It provides 20 percent of your daily fiber recommendation, 8 percent of vitamin C, and 7 percent of potassium. It also provides 2 percent of both calcium and iron.
But wait, there’s more! Just like that old saying, an apple a day really can help keep the doctor away. Apples are rich in antioxidants, natural superheroes that fight off the cell damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.
Antioxidants may help prevent a host of health problems like cancer, hardening of the arteries, neurological diseases, and more.
As a stellar source of fiber, apples help keep your digestive tract running smoothly.
The skin contains insoluble fiber, which is beneficial for your bowels. It bulks up your poop and helps keeps you regular.
Apple flesh contains a soluble type of fiber called pectin, which may have some additional benefits. Pectin is a prebiotic that feeds and helps grow the good bacteria in your colon. Studies suggest pectin could help reduce the inflammation associated with weight-related diseases and could even boost your immunity.
Apples contain a high amount of water, making them what’s called a low energy (or calorie) density food. Eating apples gives you a feeling of fullness that will hopefully make you less likely to want to grab a less healthy snack, like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s — or even oat cookies.
In a 10-week study of 50 women with overweight, those who ate apples lost 2 pounds, while those who ate oat cookies that contained the same amount of calories and fiber didn’t lose the weight.
The researchers believe that regardless of the fiber content, the low energy density of apples and other fruits may help reduce body weight over time.
Along with helping you lower your weight, eating apples may help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is highly preventable, especially by eating a healthy diet.
In fact, eating an apple every couple of days may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent, according to a large 2013 study.
Apples contain substances called polyphenols that help prevent damage to the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. Polyphenols also slow down the process of absorbing sugar into your bloodstream so that you don’t have sudden spikes in your blood sugar.
Apple skin contains lots of flavonoids, substances that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In a small 2017 study, participants who ate the skin of two apples twice a day for 4 weeks had more significantly improved blood flow to their hearts than participants who ate pureed apple flesh twice daily.
This improvement in blood circulation was long-lasting. It was noted a couple of hours after the participants ate the apple skins as well as 4 weeks afterward.
Apples can also help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. When healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60 ate an apple a day for 4 weeks in a 2012 study, their LDL levels dropped 40 percent.
Those flavonoids in apple skin have benefits besides keeping your heart healthy. They also help lower your blood pressure and prevent strokes.
A 2014 meta-analysis of 20 studies suggests that eating two small apples a day could reduce your risk of a stroke by almost a third.
A large 2011 study of 20,000 adults found that those who ate more apples and other fruits with white flesh, which are high in flavonoids, had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke over the next 10 years than adults who ate few of these foods.
Studies show that the substances in apples may help reduce your risk for various types of cancer, too.
Researchers in China found in a test tube study that the complex carbohydrates in apples called oligosaccharides help kill up to 46 percent of colon cancer cells and prevent the growth of new cancer cells.
Eating apples may also reduce the risk of lung cancer by 12 percent, according to a systemic review and meta-analysis of 41 studies. Not only that, but a 2017 study suggests that eating apples might even help repair the damaged lungs of people who smoke.
Adults over 50 who ate 8 apples per month over a 20-year period were 2 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias than older adults who ate fewer than 2 apples monthly, according to a 2020 study.
This could be thanks to the flavonoids in apples. These natural substances may help improve your memory by increasing the blood flow to your brain.
When autumn rolls around, apple season hits full force (though these guys are usually available year-round, too), and grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and fruit stands are saturated with apple options.
In fact, there are more than 7,500 different apple varieties. Some firm varieties, like Granny Smith and Honeycrisp, are best for baking. Others, like Fuji and Red Delicious, are great for juicing, and some are simply best in their pure unadulterated form.
But the real question is, which offer the healthiest bang for the buck? Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Jonagold apples rank highest for their antioxidant content.
Another tally in apples’ favor: Portion control is hardly an issue when it comes to this fruit, seeing as it comes in its very own, naturally crafted 100-calorie pack. But that doesn’t mean a whole raw apple is the only way to snack on this dietary superstar.
Apple slices can be an excellent vehicle for almond butter or cheese for an extra dose of protein. They can also be cooked up in plenty of recipes. Check out the following links for more yummy ways to incorporate this superfruit into your diet.