There is some truth behind the famous saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Apples have numerous health benefits.
Apples are one the most widely cultivated fruits in the world. There are about 7,500 varieties that can be enjoyed raw, in baked desserts and dishes, as applesauce or juice.
Apples contain almost no fat, sodium or cholesterol. Plus, they are packed with many important nutrients such as vitamin C (a powerful natural antioxidant), B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B-6), phytonutrients, fiber, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Due to all these nutrients, apples rank high on the list of superfoods.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of apples.
1. Wards Off Cancer
Being a rich source of antioxidants and other phytochemicals, apples help protect cells from cancer-inducing oxidative damage, prevent the start of cancer, stop tumor growth and promote cancer cell death.
Apples are particularly beneficial in preventing colon, breast, liver and lung cancer.
A 2011 study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition highlights the effectiveness of apples in protecting against different types of cancers.
Also, eating one or more apples per day can reduce the risk of lung and colon cancer and help maintain a healthy digestive tract.
2. Provides Healthier Heart
Apples are a rich source of phytonutrients known as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acids that help protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative damage. Oxidation is involved in plaque buildup that leads to different types of heart disease.
The pectin present in apples also helps lower bad cholesterol levels and prevent cholesterol from solidifying and blocking artery walls, which reduces blood flow to the heart.
University of California researchers found that eating two apples or drinking 12 ounces of apple juice daily is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease.
3. Manages Diabetes
Apples can also lower your risk of diabetes. A study involving 187,382 people found that people who ate three servings of apples per week had a 7 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not.
The polyphenols in apples influence the digestion process and absorption of carbohydrates, and this in turn improves regulation of blood sugar.
Also, apples lessen the absorption of glucose in the digestive tract, stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin and increase the flow of sugar out of the bloodstream and into the body’s cells.
All these elements work together to reduce the risk of diabetes as well as manage the disease.
4. Aids Weight Loss
Apples are a rich source of fiber and have low calories, so they are great for keeping your weight under control. When you eat fiber-rich foods, your stomach stays satisfied longer which helps prevent overeating.
Also, the pectin present in apples aids weight loss. Pectin usually requires more chewing and makes you feel full.
Moreover, when pectin dissolves in the stomach, it forms a gel-like substance that traps dietary cholesterol and fat, thereby limiting the amount of fat your cells absorb.
According to a Brazilian study, women who ate three or more apples a day lost more weight compared to those who did not.
Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces your risk of heart problems, strokes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and many other health issues.
5. Strengthens Bones
It is a known fact that calcium is the most essential nutrient for strong bones and apples are a good source of concentrated calcium.
Apples also contain antioxidants that help strengthen bone density and a compound known as boron that strengthens bones as well as prevents fractures.
Plus, the flavonoid known as phloridzin present in apples plays a key role in reducing the risk of osteoporosis, especially among post-menopausal women.
For stronger bones, enjoy fresh or dried apples.
6. Prevents Asthma
A British study found that people who ate two to five apples a week had a 32 percent lower risk of suffering from asthma compared to people who ate fewer apples.
This is mainly due to the flavonoids found in apples that help calm inflammation in the airways.
Also, apples contain phenolic acids that make it easier for a person with asthma to breathe freely, reducing the need for breathing treatments.
Apples are also a good source of vitamin C, another essential nutrient for relieving inflammation and keeping the lungs healthy and strong. Vitamin C also boosts the immune system, which helps a person suffering from asthma fight off symptoms.
7. Brightens Teeth
Eating an apple after each meal can help you get rid of yellow stain on your teeth. The astringent quality and mildly acidic nature of apples can brighten and cleanse your teeth.
Apples act as a toothbrush when chewed and can help deal with stubborn stains. After eating and chewing crunchy apples for several days, you’ll see a difference in the color of your teeth.
Because apples contain sugar and acid, rinse your mouth with water after eating them. If the sugars and acid are left on the teeth, they can cause dental problems.
8. Detoxifies Liver
To detoxify your liver, you can do a two-day apple fast where all you do is eat apples for two days. The pectin in apples has exceptional detoxification properties.
It helps eliminate unwanted heavy metals, excessive cholesterol and other toxins present in the body during the digestion process in the intestine.
This process reduces the workload of the liver and helps restore optimal digestive, cell and circulatory functioning.
A detoxified liver also prevents headaches, bloated stomach, allergies, indigestion and insomnia, all of which can be caused by toxins in the liver.
9. Improves Brain Health
Researchers at Cornell University found that both fresh apples and apple juice help slow age-related cognitive problems.
Apples are a leading source of quercetin, an antioxidant that protects brain cells from free radical attacks. This is very beneficial in improving brain health and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
To improve brain health, eat apples with their skins on as quercetin is mainly present in the skin.
10. Lowers Cholesterol
A study conducted at Florida State University found that those who ate apples everyday had less bad cholesterol (LDL) and more good cholesterol (HDL) compared to those who did not eat any apples.
High LDL cholesterol levels are considered very dangerous and may lead to many health problems, so it is very important to reduce its amount by eating apples.
The pectin present in apples also helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion. Also, the fiber in apples helps prevent the amount of bad cholesterol present in the blood from rising. This in turn reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Now you know all the good reasons why you should eat an apple a day! Be it fresh apples or apple juice, always opt for the organic ones. Also, when you eat an apple, eat it with the skin to enjoy the maximum health benefits.