Apples are one of the most popular fruits among American people, partially due to tradition and somewhat to marketing. Now, there are around 100 commercially grown varieties in the USA. The most popular are: Pink Lady, Red Delicious, McIntosh, Fuji, Cortland, Northern Spy, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Gala, Empire, Granny Smith, and Ida Red. Apple trees are growing throughout the world. They contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. An apple a day will not keep the doctor away; however, eating an apple a day is a part of a healthy lifestyle, just like any fruit.
Apple Nutritional Information
This nutrition information, for one medium-sized apple 3” in diameter (182g), is provided by the USDA.
Apples provide essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals(1). You’ll get 8.4 mg of vitamin C in a medium apple, or 14 percent of your daily recommended intake. You’ll also get smaller amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and folate. Minerals in apples include potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron.
Quercetin(2) is a phytochemical known as a flavonoid, which is found in fruits and vegetables, including apples. Research has found that just like many substances, quercetin in the laboratory also killed cancer cells. Therefore, the test concluded that it might help to protect against certain cancers. Notably, these types of studies only can suggest possible beneficial effects, but they do not provide any proof that such results can be achieved in humans.
Apples may keep you young
By now, we know antioxidants can protect humans from many of the harmful environmental effects and diseases that come with aging.
Many people are taking antioxidant supplements for health protection. But the evidence is mounting that some foods can do more for your health than pills.
May reduce heart disease and stroke
It’s the magnesium and potassium that help regulate your blood pressure and heartbeat. The flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood circulating smoothly. Preliminary studies also indicate that quercetin may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Adding flavonoid-rich foods like apples to your diet to lower your risk of heart disease has been suggested for many years. In a Japanese study involving women were ate seasonal vegetables and fruits that were high in quercetin (8). The test concluded they had lower levels of total and LDL or bad cholesterol and were less likely to get heart disease than the other women who participated in the study.
Apples can be a smart choice for helping to avoid strokes. According to a Dutch study, people who regularly eat apples and pears are less likely to have strokes than people who don’t (3).
Apples may help your lungs
Our lungs are assaulted every day by cigarette smoke, air pollution, and dust. That can lead to COPD, a potentially deadly lung disease.
If you want to breath easy, then grab an apple.
Experts believe your lungs might be getting some protection from quercetin. Unfortunately, eating apples can’t reverse an existing lung condition, but you might add a new line of defense against further lung damage.
Improves Brain Function
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts published a study that showed the positive effects of apple juice on Alzheimer’s. Researchers found that mice given the human equivalent of two cups of apple juice per day, performed better on cognition tests.
In another study by Dr. Thomas Shea, completed in 2006, 21 people between the ages of 72-93 with Alzheimer’s were given 4 oz of apple juice twice a day for one month. They found that drinking apple juice, even just three times a week, could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 75% (4,5).
Recent studies show that lifestyle choices may have more impact on brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention than family history or genetics.
A study done in 2014 found that fruits containing fisetin may prevent Alzheimer’s and protect against memory loss. Fisetin(6) has been studied for its ability to fight cancer and diabetes.
Fruits that contain fisetin include:
Strawberries contain much more fisetin than apples. Therefore they are a better choice if your purpose is improving brain functions.
An Apple Regulates Bowel Movement
Whether your problem is visiting the bathroom too frequently or not often enough, apples can help.
A British researcher, Dr. Denis Parsons Burkitt, believed one of the easiest ways to prevent bowel diseases is to prevent chronic constipation. He named the conditions caused by chronic constipation “rectal pressure diseases.” Appendicitis, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis, and even varicose veins can all be caused by straining to pass small, hard stools.
A medium-sized apple with its skin contains a moderate content of dietary fiber: 3 grams. Legumes contain three times as much. The daily fiber requirements are 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, according to “Public Health Nutrition: From Principles to Practice.” Dietary fiber is the most crucial nutrient in keeping your bowels in good health. Keeping yourself regular without relying on laxatives could be as easy as eating an apple.
Compare the fiber content of some foods
You can see that an apple isn’t the best choice for fiber.
Apple is also useful for diarrhea due to pectin. This dietary fiber has a congealing effect in your intestines that helps firm things up and return you to normal. Grated apple is one of the best home remedies for diarrhea.
Regulate your weight
According to a study, foods high in flavonoids, such as apples, may help with weight problems. You can read the research in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal
Risks of eating apples
Apple seeds contain cyanide, a highly poisonous substance. Therefore no one should eat them.
Apples contain about 15% sugar. However, it must not be forgotten that, apart from their high sugar content, apples are highly acidic. Eating apples daily has been associated with tooth decay, probably because this acidity could lead to early dentine exposure (7).
Apples are a healthy addition to any diet, but too many can lead to digestive issues, such as stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea. Eating them in moderation is the key.
Store apples in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer. You can expect them to stay fresh for at least 1-2 months.
Apples are not a miracle food; they won’t keep your doctor away. However, they are one of the healthier fruits on the market, provided you buy them fresh.
- Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits | NCBI | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/
- Quercetin prevents progression of disease in elastase/LPS-exposed mice by negatively regulating MMP expression | NCBI | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2954923/
- “An apple or pear a day may keep strokes away” | ScienceDaily | https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110915163523.htm
- “Apple Juice Can Delay Onset Of Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Suggests” | ScienceDaily | https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090122100826.htm
- “Apple Juice Daily Could Significantly Protect the Brain, Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk” | NaturalSociety | http://naturalsociety.com/apples-juice-daily-protect-brain-alzheimers/
- “Fisetin: A Dietary Antioxidant for Health Promotion” | NCBI | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689181/
- “Effect of chewing an apple on dental plaque removal and on salivary bacterial viability” | NIH | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051571/
- “Dietary intakes of flavonols, flavones and isoflavones by Japanese women and the inverse correlation between quercetin intake and plasma LDL cholesterol concentration.” | Pubmed | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10958819