Apples are one of the most popular fruits. They are tasty, easy to eat, and good for you. But are apples really that healthy? How exactly do apples help your body? Keep reading this guide to learn all about the health benefits of apples.
Why Are Apples Healthy?
Apples have lots of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. These nutrients give apples most of their health powers. Here are some of the most helpful nutrients found in apples:
Fiber is the part of fruits and vegetables that your body cannot digest. It passes through your system to help food move. Apples have soluble fiber. This fiber dissolves in water. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. One medium apple has about 4 grams of fiber. That is around 16% of the fiber you need each day.
Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage and prevent disease. Apples contain antioxidants like polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C. Antioxidants help give apples their bright colors too. The antioxidant activity also varies between different apple varieties. Red apples generally have more antioxidants than green apples.
Vitamin C boosts your immune system to help fight infection. It also helps your body absorb iron better. One medium apple provides about 14% of your daily vitamin C needs.
Potassium helps control blood pressure. It also balances fluids in your body. One medium apple has 195 mg of potassium. That’s around 6% of the potassium you need every day.
Now let’s explore some of the top ways that apples can benefit your health.
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Top Health Benefits of Apples
1. May Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases
Eating apples may help lower your risk for many chronic diseases. The fiber and antioxidants in apples help reduce inflammation. This inflammation can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
For example, studies show people who eat more apples have:
- Up to 23% lower risk of diabetes
- 18% lower risk of cancer
- 16% lower risk of heart disease
The antioxidants in apples also protect your cells from damage that can lead to disease.
2. Can Help With Weight Loss
Apples are low in calories and high in fiber. This combo helps you feel full for longer.
In one study, people who ate an apple before a meal felt more full. They ate 15% fewer calories compared to those who didn’t eat an apple.
Other studies show that eating fruit like apples is linked with lower calorie intake and reduced body weight. So apples can be a smart snack option if you are trying to lose weight.
3. Improves Digestive Health
The soluble fiber found in apples helps promote good gut bacteria. It also softens stool to relieve constipation.
Studies show that people who eat more fiber have better gut health and digestion. Soluble fiber may also reduce gas, bloating, and other uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
4. Boosts Brain Health
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia rates have been rising. So ways to keep your brain healthy are important.
Eating apples may help protect your brain cells from degeneration. The antioxidants in apples also reduce inflammation and oxidative damage that can lead to memory loss.
In studies, animals fed antioxidant-rich apple extract had less brain cell death. People who eat more apples may also have better brain function as they age.
5. May Improve Lung Function
Apples contain quercetin and other antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is a key risk factor for lung conditions like asthma.
Some studies show apples may improve lung function. People who frequently eat apples may also have a lower risk of lung cancer. More research is needed, but apples may help keep your lungs healthy.
6. Can Support Bone Health
Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become weak and brittle. It’s especially common in older women.
Apples may help protect your bones thanks to their nutrients. For example:
- Boron improves bone strength and mineral density.
- Polyphenols increase bone density and slow bone loss.
- Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, which forms bones and connective tissues.
Studies also show that eating apples is linked with higher bone density. So apples are a smart food choice to improve bone health.
7. Boosts Your Immune System
Oranges get all the credit for vitamin C. But apples are also an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps make white blood cells that fight infection. It also acts as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage.
Just one medium apple contains about 14% of your daily vitamin C needs. So eat up to help support a healthy immune response.
8. Helps Control Blood Sugar
The fiber in apples slows digestion and sugar absorption. This gradual rise in blood sugar provides better glycemic control.
Fiber also feeds good gut bacteria that improve blood sugar regulation. People who eat more apples tend to have lower blood sugar levels.
The polyphenols in apples also inhibit digestive enzymes to slow carb digestion. In studies, extracts from apple peels improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar management.
As you can see, apples provide many evidence-based health benefits. They are packed with important nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Eating apples may help lower your risk for chronic diseases, support weight loss, and improve gut, brain, bone, lung, and immune health. Apples even help control blood sugar levels.
So don’t hesitate to bite into this crunchy, sweet, and very healthy fruit daily as part of a balanced diet. Just be sure to eat the whole apple with the healthy skin on for the most benefits. With all these perks, apples definitely deserve their reputation for keeping the doctor away!
To summarize, here are some key takeaways on the health benefits of apples:
- Apples are low in calories and high in fiber, which promotes feelings of fullness and can aid in weight management.
- Apples contain antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids that help lower inflammation, protect cells from damage, and reduce disease risk.
- The fiber and polyphenols in apples improve digestive health by supporting good gut bacteria and relieving constipation.
- Compounds in apples may help preserve brain function and slow cognitive decline associated with aging.
- Quercetin and vitamin C help reduce chronic inflammation linked to lung issues like asthma and support immune defense.
- Nutrients in apples, like boron and vitamin C, improve bone health by increasing bone density.
- Apples have a low glycemic index, meaning they do not spike blood sugar levels, which benefits diabetes management.
So enjoy apples as a daily snack or ingredient in recipes to boost your overall health!