Everyone has come across the saying ‘An apple a day…’, but is the fruit really all it’s hyped up to be? While some claims may be exaggerated, apples truly are remarkable. The crunchy, bright-coloured fruit comes in many varieties, with the taste varying from sweet to sour, depending on the type of apple and its ripeness. In addition, they are easy to use – you can eat them raw, cooked, baked, juiced or dried. They are also versatile in recipes and can be paired with many other foods. There’s a lot more that accounts for their popularity and we haven’t even got to apple fruit benefits yet!
Health Benefits Of Apples
- Cholesterol Control
Apples contain a good amount of soluble fibre, which forms a gel-like material in water that helps to reduce cholesterol build-up and facilitates its elimination. In fact, research shows that apple consumption can lower both LDL or bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
- Blood Pressure Regulation
High blood pressure or hypertension has become widespread in India, increasing the risk of kidney disease, heart attacks and stroke. Apples can help lower this risk as they contain flavonoids such as epicatechin. This flavonoid has been shown to lower blood pressure levels .
- Supports Healthy Digestion
Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which are essential for healthy digestion. This is perhaps one of the best known of all apples benefits and it is often used to deal with digestive disorders including diarrhoea and constipation. Just remember that much of apple’s fibre is found in the skin.
- Supports Gut Microbiome
Apples are a good source of prebiotics, which are non-digestible fibre that feed beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria can produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish the intestinal cells and maintain the gut barrier function. Studies also show that apples contain some healthy bacteria that can improve gut health .
- Diabetes Friendly
Apples have a low glycaemic index, which means they do not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels after consumption. Pectin, a type of soluble fibre in apples, slows down the absorption of sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. Apples also contain quercetin, a flavonoid that can inhibit enzymes that break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. Studies have found that eating apples can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes .
- Heart Disease Prevention
In addition to helping control cholesterol levels, soluble fibre in apples can prevent plaque build-up in the arteries. Polyphenols in apples can protect the blood vessels from damage, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clots. This is perhaps the clearest of all benefits of eating apples, as regular intake has been linked to stroke and heart disease .
- Relieves Asthma
Apples health benefits for the respiratory system are often overlooked but they have been the subject of numerous studies. Research suggests that quercetin and other compounds in apples can reduce airway inflammation and may even prevent allergic inflammation associated with asthma and bronchitis .
- Immune Support
Aside from the fact that high fibre intake supports gut health, which in turn boosts immunity, apples also contain a fair amount of vitamin C. Research shows that regular intake of this essential nutrient can strengthen immune function and lower the risk of frequent infections .
- Can Aid Weight Loss
Apples are low in calories and high in fibre and water, which can make you feel full and satisfied for longer. They can also help regulate your appetite by affecting the hormones that control hunger and satiety. These benefits of eating apples have been confirmed with findings that point to improved weight loss with regular apple consumption .
- Protects Brain Health
Apples have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can protect the brain from oxidative stress and neurodegeneration. Apples also contain acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in memory and learning. Quercetin in apples can enhance cognitive function, delay cognitive decline, and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease .
- Apple Benefits For Skin
Apples have vitamin C, which is essential for collagen synthesis and skin repair. Additionally, apples contain flavonoids that may offer protection against skin damage caused by UV rays, pollution and aging . Apple benefits for skin also include improved hydration, elasticity, texture and appearance.
- Good For Dental Health
There’s a reason why many experts recommend eating apples regularly to prevent dental disease. Apples health benefits are strongly linked to their fibre content and pectin, which also promotes better oral hygiene. Eating apples is associated with increased salivation that can reduce dry mouth and slow bacterial growth, protecting against plaque build-up and tooth decay .
While you wouldn’t need to ask ‘how many calories in an apple?’, you’ll certainly need to keep that in mind when consuming apple juice. Although apples are incredibly healthy, low in calories and can be part of your daily diet, apple juice benefits are limited and packaged varieties of apple juice can even be unhealthy.