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7 Health Benefits Of Apples

Last updated March 29, 2017

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The apple is a fruit from the apple tree (Malus domestica). The tree has been cultivated in Central Asia and Europe for thousands of years, but then brought to North America by European colonialists. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, each serving its purpose for cooking, eating raw, and cider production.

Here are seven health benefits of the apple.

1.     Apples could help you have an easier digestion and promote regularity.

Apples possess a significant amount of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber stimulates the peristaltic motion and increased secretion of gastric juices, which eases digestion, prevents constipation, and protects the body from more serious conditions like colorectal cancer.

Even though your body cannot digest fiber, your friendly gut bacteria can. When the gut bacteria feed on the indigestible carbohydrates, they release beneficial nutrients to your gut as a byproduct. One example of soluble fiber is pectin. Pectin is a prebiotic found in apples digested by the bacteria in the gut. Research, published in the journal of Nutrients, suggest that the prebiotics in apples can help boost cardiovascular health.

2.     Apples can help individuals with type 2 diabetes maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

People with type 2 diabetes must be aware of the amount of sugar they eat at any given moment. With 80 percent of prepackaged food containing added sugar, type 2 diabetes must make sure they eat food that will not spike those levels. Apples contain soluble fiber content that help prevents spikes and crashes in the blood sugar levels. Unsteady sugar levels can be fatal for people with type 2 diabetes.

3.     Apples may be good for weight loss.

The fiber and water content in apples can be quite filling, allowing less room in your stomach for calorically-dense foods. A study, published in the journal Appetite, investigated if consuming different forms of fruit affected that rating of the fullness of a person. Fifty-eight adults were broken into five groups including the following: no preload (control), whole apples, applesauce, apple juice with fiber, and apple juice without fiber. Once a week for five weeks, the participants consumed their directed food, followed by a test meal eaten 156 minutes later.

Their results showed that people who ate the whole apple ate 15 percent fewer calories than the control group. The whole apple group also ate fewer calories than the applesauce group and both juice groups. The research points out that only adding more fiber did not affect the feeling of fullness but eating the whole fruit did affect the feeling.

4.     Apples have potent antioxidants that can prevent or treat cancer.

Apples contain high levels of polyphenols, phytochemicals, and anthocyanins. Studies have suggested that these compounds may contribute to fighting against cardiovascular disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. Also, it has been proposed that regular consumption of apples per day may reduce the risk of lung and colon cancer.

One study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that increased apple consumption in senior women has been linked to a lower risk of cancer mortality.

5.     Apples can clean your mouth and help improve dental hygiene.

Apples have been known to help clean both teeth and gums. Also, apples have antibacterial properties that keep bacteria out of the mouth, by stimulating saliva secretion. This basic compound reduces the ability of bacteria to proliferate.

6.     Apples can help boost heart health.

Apples can help decrease your cholesterol levels. The fiber in apples can decrease your cholesterol levels by scraping cholesterol out of the arteries and blood vessels. Also, the antioxidant activity can reduce the oxidation of fats, neutralize triglycerides, and cut fat found between blood vessels. Also, the skin of the apple contains a flavonoid called quercetin. This flavonoid can reduce inflammation in our blood vessels, which is a heart booster.

Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition agreed that increased apple consumption in senior women decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease.

7.     Apples can help improve eyesight.

It has been suggested that apples can treat night blindness. The flavonoid compounds and phytonutrients can reduce the free radicals that cause damage to the eye.

Additional Resources:

  1. A. Parnell, J., & A. Reimer, R. (2012). Prebiotic fiber modulation of the gut microbiota improves risk factors for obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Gut microbes3(1), 29-34.
  2. Macfarlane, S. M. G. T., Macfarlane, G. T., & Cummings, J. T. (2006). Review article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics24(5), 701-714.
  3. Perry, A., Rasmussen, H., & Johnson, E. J. (2009). Xanthophyll (lutein, zeaxanthin) content in fruits, vegetables and corn and egg products. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis22(1), 9-15.
  4. Stopar, M., Bolcina, U., Vanzo, A., & Vrhovsek, U. (2002). Lower crop load for cv. Jonagold apples (Malus× domestica Borkh.) increases polyphenol content and fruit quality. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry50(6), 1643-1646.
  5. Kneckt, P., Isotupa, S., Rissanen, H., & Heliovaara, M. (2000). Quercetin intake and the incidence of cerebrovascular disease. European journal of clinical nutrition54(5), 415.
  6. Flood-Obbagy, J. E., & Rolls, B. J. (2009). The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal. Appetite52(2), 416-422.
  7. Hodgson, J. M., Prince, R. L., Woodman, R. J., Bondonno, C. P., Ivey, K. L., Bondonno, N., ... & Lewis, J. R. (2016). Apple intake is inversely associated with all-cause and disease-specific mortality in elderly women. British Journal of Nutrition115(05), 860-867.
  8. Gerhauser, C. (2008). Cancer chemopreventive potential of apples, apple juice, and apple components. Planta medica74(13), 1608-1624.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 27, 2014
Last updated: March 29, 2017

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