10 Healthy Reasons to Eat Apples Everyday
The old Welsh proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is grounded in current research.
Nutritionally, apples are low in calories, providing only 50 calories per 100 grams. An average apple is about 90 calories, rich in dietary fiber (~ 4 grams of soluble fiber per apple), and contains fair amounts of Vitamin C and beta-carotene, two powerful antioxidants. Apples are a good source of B-Complex vitamins and contain minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium and boron.
For your health, here are 10 reasons why you should be reaching for an apple every day:
1) Blood Sugar and Diabetes Management
Soluble fiber is the key to regulating blood sugar swings. The natural sweetness of apples comes primarily from fructose, a sugar that breaks down slowly in the body keeping blood sugar levels stable. Phloridzin – a flavonoid found only in apples – showed a significant reduction in blood glucose levels in a study with rats.
The pectin of apples contains galacturonic acid which has been shown to lower the body’s need of insulin and thus help manage diabetes. Women who ate at least one apple a day were 28% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat apples (BJM).
2) Weight Loss
A Brazilian study found that women who ate three apples or pears a day lost more weight while dieting than women who did not eat fruit while dieting. Eating high-fiber foods such as apples create a feeling of fullness. Penn State researchers found that eating a whole apple 15 minutes prior to a meal could reduce the amount of food/calories consumed. Fiber-rich apples also benefit digestion and bowel transit.
3) Immunity Booster
Recent studies have found that the antioxidant quercetin – found in red apples – can help boost and fortify your immune system.
4) Cancer Prevention
Leave the skin on your apples! Cornell researchers have identified several compounds – called triterpenoids – in the apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Apples contain phytochemicals that act as antioxidants by protecting the body’s cells from irreversible damage.
Rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 57% lower risk of liver cancer and a 43% lower risk of colon cancer. Other research shows that the pectin and fiber intake from apples reduces the risk of colon cancer and help maintain a healthy digestive tract.
The American Association of Cancer Research says the consumption of flavonol-rich apples can help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23%.
The Cornell University research study above found that rats who ate one apple a day reduced their breast cancer risk by 17%. Three apples a day reduced their risk by 39% and six apples per day reduces the risk by 44%.
A study of 10,000 people revealed that those who ate the most apples had a 50% lower risk of developing lung cancer. Researches attribute this to the high levels of the flavonoids quercetin and naringin.
5) Lowered Cholesterol
Soluble fiber found in apples binds with fats in the intestines which translates into lower cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that eating two apples per day can lower cholesterol up to 16%.
A Florida State University study stated that apples are a “miracle fruit” as they found that older women who ate apples everyday had 23% less LDL (aka “bad” cholesterol) and 4% more HDL (aka “good” cholesterol) after just six months. The antioxidants in apple pectin help prevent LDL from oxidation.
6) Heart Health
In a study of 34,000 women, The Iowa Women’s Health Study found that among the participants it tracked for almost 20 years, consuming apples was associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Potassium, found in apples, helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
7) Stroke Prevention
In a French study, researchers found evidence that connected the consumption of apples and other fruit with a lower occurrence of strokes. With each additional serving of fruit consumed per day, the risk of stroke decreased by 11%.
8) Brain Health, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Prevention
A Cornell University study conducted on mice found evidence that quercetin in apples may protect brain cells from the type of free radical damage that leads to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet that showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and performed better in maze tests than those on the control diet.
9) Bone Protection
Boron, a mineral found in apples, strengthens bones. The flavonoid phloridzin – found only in apples – may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density.
10) Exercise Endurance
The antioxidant quercetin is believed to make more oxygen available to the lungs. Eating an apple before you exercise can boost your exercise endurance.
With all these amazing health benefits, I know you’ll want to incorporate apples into your daily diet. For the maximum health benefit, remember to eat your apples peel and all. Also to note, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), apples are one of the most pesticide contaminated foods so always try to consume organic varieties.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
- On my Simple Kale Salad post, check out the the Apple And Toasted Walnut Kale Salad variation listed below the basic recipe. I love tart apples so Granny Smiths are my go-to apple, but you can use whichever is your favorite.
- For a tasty snack treat – great for stashing in your desk at work or taking on-the-go – try these Homemade Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips from Paleo Grubs.
- This time of year – peak apple harvest and crisp Fall nights – is the perfect time for baking an apple crisp. I love this Paleo Apple Crisp from The Freckled Foodie! Call me lazy but I don’t peel the apples. (I also skip the extra sugar on top.)
- And for dinner, you will say OMG for Paleo OMG’s Honey Ginger Apple Shredded Pork.
What’s your favorite apple? Mine is a tart, crisp Granny Smith or Ginger Gold. Do you have favorite apple recipes you’d like to share with us?