What to know about apples

  • Benefits
  • Nutrition
  • Dietary tips and recipes
  • Risks

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.

In this article, learn more about the nutritional content of apples and how they may benefit a person’s health.

Benefits

a woman eating a green apple.
The nutrients in apples provide a range of health benefits.

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

Learn more about good dietary sources of antioxidants here.

The sections below look at previous research into apples’ potential health benefits.

Neurological health and dementia

A 2019 laboratory study concluded that quercetin has a neuroprotective effect, possibly because it prevents the creation of reactive species. It appears to help neurons survive and continue to function. It may therefore help prevent age-related neuron loss.

In 2015, the results of a mouse study suggested that high dose quercetin supplementation may help protect cells from the type of damage that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

It is worth noting that most studies of this type used high doses of quercetin that are unlikely to be present in normal dietary sources. In addition, scientists need to do more studies in humans before they can confirm that quercetin improves neurological health in people.

Can foods boost a person’s brain function? Find out here.

Stroke

An older study from 2000 looked at how consuming apples over 28 years affected the risk of stroke in 9,208 people.

The authors found that those who ate the most apples had a lower risk of thrombotic stroke.

Apples contain many nutrients that may lower the risk of stroke. One 2017 review found, for example, that people who consume the most fiber appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

A medium sized apple around 3 inches in diameter and weighing 182 grams (g) provides 4.37 g of fiber. That is around 13–20% of an adult’s daily requirement, depending on their age and sex.

What are the benefits of following a healthful diet? Learn more here.

Cholesterol

One 2013 study found that eating raw apples lowered levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol among healthy people, but that drinking clear apple juice did not have the same impact. The authors therefore conclude that it is the fiber in apples that helps reduce cholesterol.

Get some more tips for lowering cholesterol here.

Heart health

Apples contain fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and potassium. A medium sized apple provides the following:

  • 13–20% of a person’s daily fiber needs
  • 9–11% of a person’s daily vitamin C needs
  • 4% of a person’s daily potassium needs

Fiber appears to help manage blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that, alongside other antioxidants, may play a role in protecting some aspects of heart health. Vitamin C may also boost the immune system and help defend the body from infections and diseases.

Potassium helps relax the blood vessels, reducing the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular complications.

What other foods can help lower blood pressure? Find out here.

Diabetes

In 2013, a population study found that people who replaced three servings per week of fruit juice with the same amount of whole fruit, including apples, had a 7% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat fruit.

Also, those who consume the most fiber have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, suggested one 2011 review. People who already have diabetes and follow a high fiber diet may also have lower blood sugar levels.

The American Diabetes Association recommend eating fresh fruit, including apples, to satisfy a sweet tooth and provide nutrition. However, they remind people to account for the carbohydrate content in the fruit.

A medium apple contains 25.1 g of carbohydrate, of which 18.9 g is sugar. However, it also provides fiber and other nutrients, which means that, as a sweet snack, it has additional health benefits.

Is yogurt good for people with diabetes? Find out here.

Cancer

Consuming antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent the oxidative stress that causes cell damage and may lead to the development of certain cancers. Apples are a good source of antioxidants.

One meta-analysis from 2016 concluded that consuming apples may help lower the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer, among other types.

Fiber may also help reduce the risk of colon cancer, according to a meta-analysis published in 2018.

Learn more about the link between cancer and diet here.

Obesity

According to a 2019 rodent study, apples contain bioactive compounds that may help promote healthful gut bacteria, which may help optimize the health of people with obesity.

The authors looked at how eating apples might affect the gut microbiota of rats. The changes they observed suggested that apple consumption may help humans with obesity.

Fiber can also help a person feel full for longer, making them less likely to overeat.

Fruits and vegetables of all kinds can be healthful, but which fruits offer the most benefits? Learn more here.

source

Leave a reply