Apples are now at peak season. And whether you like yours coated with caramel, in a pie, or au naturel, there are plenty of research-backed benefits that put this popular fruit at the head of its nutritional class. An apple a day might, in fact, keep the doctor away. It’s definitely worth a try.
Here are eight ways apples improve your health:
- Nutrients. According to Healthline, a typical 95-calorie apple has four grams of fiber, 14% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C, 6% of the RDI for potassium, and 5% of the RDI for vitamin K. Apples also have polyphenols to help manage blood pressure. Leave the skin on to derive the maximum health benefits.
- Weight loss. Studies have found that people who ate apple slices before a meal lost more weight than control groups who did not. That’s because the fiber in apples makes you feel fuller, longer.
- Cardiovascular health. The soluble fiber in apples has been linked to lowering blood cholesterol levels, says Healthline, and the flavonoids in this fruit may reduce the risk of stroke. One study found that eating an apple a day lowered the risk of dying from heart disease equally as well as statin drugs.
- Diabetes. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the antioxidant effect of the flavonoids found in apples may prevent cell damage in the pancreas, the organ that is responsible for secreting insulin in response to extra sugar in the blood. The Women’s Health Study followed 38,000 women over a period of nine years and found those who ate one or more apples a day had a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Prebiotics. Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. The latest research proposes that this is the reason apples are so protective against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
- Oral health. Apples help clean your teeth and keep your breath fresh. Eating hard fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help remove odor-causing plaque and food particles, says WebMD.
- Reduced cancer risk. Test tube studies have associated the plant compounds found in apples with a reduced risk of cancer, according to Healthline. Other studies support this evidence and scientists believe it is their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may be the reason apples help prevent cancer.
- Bone health. Eating fruit has been linked to higher bone density, which helps maintain strong, healthy bones and preserves bone mass as you age. A study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition found that women who ate fresh apples lost less calcium from their bodies than those who ate applesauce or no apples at all.