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Benefits of Apples

Benefits of Apples

Apple and apple slices

Apples are sometimes called “nutritional powerhouses” because of their impressive nutritional profile.

Apples contain about 14 percent of our daily needs of Vitamin C (a powerful natural antioxidant), B-complex vitamins, dietary fiber, phytonutrients (which help protect the body from the detrimental effects of free radicals), and minerals such as calcium and potassium.

Studies have revealed that eating apples can potentially help prevent dementia and reduce the risk of stroke and diabetes.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an old Welsh proverb that most of us are familiar with, but what makes this fruit so special? What health benefits are associated with eating apples?

As one of the most cultivated and consumed fruits in the world, apples are continuously being praised as a “miracle food”.

In fact, apples were ranked first in Medical News Today’s featured article about the top 10 healthy foods.

Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber.

The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancerhypertensiondiabetes, and heart disease.

This article provides a nutritional profile of the fruit and its possible health benefits. It also discusses the possible risks and precautions and some frequently asked questions.

Nutritional profile of apples

Apples contain almost no fat, sodium or cholesterol.

Apples deserve to be called “nutritional powerhouses”. They contain the following important nutrients:

Apples, with skin (edible parts) nutritional value per 100 grams

Energy – 52 kcal Carbohydrates – 13.81 g
Fat – 0.17 g Protein – 0.26 g
Water – 85.56 g Sodium – 1 mg
Beta-carotene – 27 μg Lutein and zeaxanthin – 29 μg
Thiamin (vitamin B1) – 0.017 mg Vitamin A equiv – 3 μg
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) – 0.026 mg Niacin (vitamin B3) – 0.091 mg
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) – 0.061 mg Vitamin B6 – 0.041 mg
Folate (vitamin B9) – 3 μg Vitamin C – 4.6 mg
Vitamin E – 0.18 mg Vitamin K – 2.2 μg
Calcium – 6 mg Iron – 0.12 mg
Magnesium – 5 mg Manganese – 0.035 mg
Phosphorus – 11 mg Potassium – 107 mg

Note: the average size of an apple is 150 grams
Source: USDA

Improving neurological health

A 2006 study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicinefound that quercetin (one of the antioxidants found abundantly in apples) was one of two compounds that helped to reduce cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons8

Preventing dementia

A study published in the Journal of Food Science in 2008 suggested that eating apples may have benefit for your neurological health.

The researchers found that including apples in your daily diet may protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity and may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Reducing your risk of stroke

A study involving 9,208 men and women showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk for stroke.

The researchers concluded that the intake of apples is related to a decreased risk of thrombotic stroke.4

Lowering levels of bad cholesterol

A group of researchers at The Florida State University stated that apples are a “miracle fruit”.

They found that older women who ate apples everyday had 23% less bad cholesterol (LDL) and 4% more good cholesterol (HDL) after just six months.

Reducing your risk of diabetes

Apples could also help lower your risk of diabetes. A study involving 187,382 people found that people who ate three servings per week of apples, grapes, raisins, blueberries or pears had a 7% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not.

Warding off breast cancer

There is growing evidence suggesting that an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer, according to a series of studies conducted by prominent Cornell researcher Rui Hai Liu.

Liu said her research adds to “the growing evidence that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, including apples, would provide consumers with more phenolics, which are proving to have important health benefits. I would encourage consumers to eat more and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily.”

Obesity

In a study published in the journal Food Chemistry in 2014, a team of researchers analyzed how the bioactive compounds of seven different varieties of apples – Granny Smith, Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Red Delicious – affected the good gut bacteria of diet-induced obese mice.

The researchers found that, compared with all other apple varieties, Granny Smiths appeared to have the most beneficial effect on good gut bacteria. They suggest that their findings may lead to strategies that prevent obesity and its associated disorders.

Sited from Medical News Today