In general, Apples are known to aid weight loss in several ways. They’re also particularly filling due to their high fiber content. Typically, these fruits grow on the apple tree (Malus Domestica), originally from Central Asia. And since they’re very high in soluble fiber, this helps in lowering body cholesterol levels.
Mostly, eaten raw, they can also be used in various recipes, juices, and drinks. They come in various types of abounding, with a variety of colors and sizes. To get the most out of Apples, leave the skin on — it contains half of the fiber and many of the polyphenols — which are linked in lowering blood pressure and stroke risk.
According to animal studies, apple juice may help prevent the decline of neurotransmitters. Specifically, that are involved in memory. 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. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at more benefits of consuming them after this introduction.
Why are Apples important?
Apples are among the most popular fruits — and for good reason. They contain antioxidants, vitamins, dietary fiber, and a range of other nutrients. And due to their varied nutrient content, they may help prevent several health problems. Above all, they come in a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors.
Assumably, they are known to provide a range of nutrients that can benefit a person’s health in many different aspects. For example, they may help reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions.
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. One medium apple — 6.4 ounces or 182 grams — offers numerous nutrients:
Apples contain the following nutrients;
- Water: 86%
- Calories: 85
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Protein: 0.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
What’s more, the same serving provides 2–4% of the RDI for manganese, copper, and vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6.
In short, Apples are incredibly good for you, and eating them is linked to a lower risk of many major diseases, including diabetes and cancer. What’s more, their soluble fiber content may promote weight loss and gut health.
Additionally, Apples are a rich source of polyphenols. Also, as I mentioned, they are good sources of fiber and vitamin C. And while nutrition labels don’t list these plant compounds, they’re likely responsible for many of the health benefits. Below are more benefits to health;
1. 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. Also, 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.
In another 10-week study in 50 overweight women, participants who ate apples lost an average of 2 pounds (1 kg) and ate fewer calories overall, compared to those who ate oat cookies with a similar calorie and fiber content. Researchers think that apples are more filling because they’re less energy-dense, yet still deliver fiber and volume.
Furthermore, some natural compounds in them may promote weight loss. A study in obese mice found that those given a supplement of ground apples and apple juice concentrate lost more weight and had lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol than the control group.
2. Heart Health
Apples have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. 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 and risk of stroke. Flavonoids can help prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing “bad” LDL oxidation, and acting as antioxidants.
Another study comparing the effects of eating an apple a day to taking statins — a class of drugs known to lower cholesterol — concluded that apples would be almost as effective at reducing death from heart disease as the drugs.
However, since this was not a controlled trial, findings must be taken with a grain of salt. Another study linked consuming white-fleshed fruits and vegetables, such as apples and pears, to a reduced risk of stroke. For every 25 grams — about 1/5 cup of apple slices — consumed, the risk of stroke decreased by 9%.
3. Diabetes Control
Several studies have linked eating apples to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. This is possibly due to their polyphenol antioxidant content. 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. Some evidence suggests that eating apples can help lower blood sugar levels. Antioxidants in apples may also slow down your digestion and absorption of sugars.
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.
4. Prebiotic Effects
Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. This means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. And maybe the reason they protect against obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
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.
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.
5. Cancer Prevention
Apples have several naturally occurring compounds that may help fight cancer. Test-tube studies have shown a link between plant compounds in apples and a lower risk of cancer.
Additionally, one study in women reported that eating apples were linked to lower rates of death from cancer. Scientists believe that their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may be responsible for their potential cancer-preventive effects.
One study indicated that those who consumed 1 or more apples per day were at a lower risk of cancer. Including a 20% and 18% lower risk of colorectal and breast cancers, respectively.
6. Asthma Fight
Apples contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help regulate immune responses and protect against 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. 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.
7. Bone Health
As a matter of fact, eating fruit is linked to higher bone density, which is a marker of bone health. Researchers believe that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in fruit may help promote bone density and strength. What’s more, eating fruit may help preserve bone mass as you age.
Some studies show that apples, specifically, may positively affect bone health. In one study, women ate a meal that either included fresh apples, peeled apples, applesauce, or no apple products. Those who ate apples lost less calcium from their bodies than the control group.
8. Stomach Protection
Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, the fiber found in apples can help. Fiber can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up. Or even absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.
The class of painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can injure the lining of your stomach. A study in test tubes and rats found that freeze-dried apple extract helped protect stomach cells from injury due to NSAIDs.
Two plant compounds in apples — chlorogenic acid and catechin — are thought to be particularly helpful. However, research in humans is needed to confirm these results. On the other hand, Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies.
They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fiber (ahem, apples again) to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.
9. Brain Support
Most research focuses on apple peel and flesh. However, apple juice may have benefits for age-related mental decline. In animal studies, juice concentrate reduced harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in brain tissue and minimized mental decline.
Apple juice may help preserve acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can decline with age. Low levels of acetylcholine are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, researchers, who fed elderly rats whole apples found that a marker of the rats’ memory was restored to the level of younger rats.
That said, whole apples contain the same compounds as apple juice — and it is always a healthier choice to eat your fruit whole.
10. Healthy Carbs
Apples are mainly composed of carbs and water. They’re rich in simple sugars, such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose. Despite their high carb and sugar contents, their glycemic index (GI) is low, ranging 29–44. The GI is a measure of how food affects the rise in blood sugar levels after eating.
Low values are associated with various health benefits. Due to their high fiber and polyphenol counts, fruits often have a low GI score. A single medium-sized apple (100 grams) contains about 4 grams of this nutrient, which is 17% of the Daily Value (DV). The portions of their fiber come from insoluble and soluble fibers called pectin.
Soluble fiber is associated with numerous health benefits, partly because it feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut. Fiber may also help improve fullness and cause weight loss while lowering blood sugar levels and boosting digestive function.
11. Detox Help
Your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best – and easiest – things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits, like apples.
In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know before you even think about doing a detox. And though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants — like apples — are 10 to 15 percent less likely to develop cataracts. So, as you can see, apple benefits are endless!
Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life-threatening, these veins can be very painful. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fiber can prevent you from straining too much. Especially, when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods. And people with IBS understand all too well how food can make symptoms worse. But learning about high-fiber foods they can eat (like apples) is key.
Other plant compounds include;
- Quercetin. A nutrient that also occurs in many plant foods, quercetin may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, and antidepressant effects, according to animal studies.
- Catechin. A natural antioxidant, catechin is also present in large amounts in green tea and has been shown to improve brain and muscle function in animal studies.
- Chlorogenic acid. Also found in coffee, chlorogenic acid has been found to lower blood sugar and cause weight loss in some studies
Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re in stress. That’s one of the most unexpected health benefits of apples.
The combination of water and fiber in apples makes them incredibly filling. Furthermore, apples take significantly longer to eat compared with foods that don’t contain fiber. Eating duration likewise contributes to fullness.
The many healthy components of apples may contribute to fullness and reduced calorie intake. For example, a study of 10 people noted that juice could be consumed 11 times faster than a whole apple. The filling effects of apples may reduce appetite and lead to weight reduction.
Apples are generally well tolerated. However, they may cause problems for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Simply, because they contain FODMAPs, a wide category of fibers that cause digestive symptoms. Including gas and abdominal pain, in some people.
Their fructose content may also be problematic for people with fructose intolerance.
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By all means, we all know we should be eating more Fruits and Vegetables. But, which ones give us the biggest nutritional punch? Most people know that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but not as many are familiar with the differences between them. Fruits and vegetables have a lot of similarities in terms of nutrition.
Both are high in fiber as well as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds. Naturally, they are also low in sodium and fat. As you might expect given their sweet taste, fruits tend to have a higher amount of natural sugar and calories compared to most varieties of vegetables.
One cup of apples, for example, contains 65 calories and 13 grams of sugar. While one cup of broccoli has just 31 calories and 2 grams of sugar. Compared to vegetables, some types of fruits may also contain more fiber per gram. The fiber content per 100 grams for fruit ranges from 2–15 grams. You can read and learn more about fruits and vegetables here.