We’ve all heard how to keep the doctor away, but what makes apples so good at repelling medical professionals? Let’s find out!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
That age-old saying definitely has a catchy tune. And when given a choice between a routine doctor’s exam and eating a handful of sliced fruit, most children would grab for the Red Delicious or Granny Smith.
By adulthood, we realize it was all a ploy to convince us to eat healthily!
But our parents were right about one thing:
Apples are among the healthiest foods on the planet.
Don’t believe us? Here’s a look at seven impressive health benefits of apples:
Table of Contents
Encourage Weight Loss
Apples are among the most nutrient-rich fruits in the world, loaded with vitamins and minerals like potassium (5% RDV), vitamin C (14%), and vitamin B6 (2%). But did you know that an apple’s 4.4g of fiber can also help you on your weight loss journey?
That’s a little-known secret that works for two reasons.
For one, foods high in fiber take longer to travel through the GI tract, helping you feel fuller for longer. In addition, the less often those hunger pangs strike, the less likely you are to give in to those unhealthy sweets cravings.
Apples are also low in calories themselves. So while they might “fill you up” as much as a hamburger or chocolate bar, they only bring along 100 or so calories.
In other words, replacing a 400-calorie snack with a 100-calorie apple can slash your daily calories by 300. That’s a 2,100-calorie-a-week deficit or about 0.6 pounds!
Boost the Immune System
Sometimes referred to as the “unsung superfood,” apples pack quite a nutritious punch with every crunchy and delicious bite. These tasty fruits also happen to be an incredible source of antioxidants, especially in the peel!
These nutrients are responsible for stopping damage caused by cell-destroying free radicals, common in illnesses like cancer and diabetes.
This influx of antioxidants in your diet can:
- Lower your cholesterol (more about that later)
- Build natural resilience against some cancers, with research suggesting a 37% decrease in lung cancer risk
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, the #1 killer in America
- Slash your likelihood of developing diabetes
Apples alone won’t replace your physician, as the age-old saying suggests. However, your need for an appointment beyond your annual check-up might just plummet!
Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Sweet fruits like apples are relatively high in fructose, the natural sugar found in most fruits. And, although we often link the word “sugar” to heightened diabetes risk, apples might just do the opposite.
Apples could potentially lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. And, we owe it all to the polyphenols and fiber found in every bite.
Here’s how that works:
An apple’s fiber and antioxidants impact how quickly the sugar can enter the bloodstream. Interestingly, apples also rank lower on the glycemic index than traditional sweets, like candy bars and cookies.
When these nutrients are combined, they can prevent blood sugar spikes, better manage insulin levels, and lessen your risk of diabetes. It can also fulfill your sweet tooth cravings without the unnecessary consequences.
Lower Cholesterol & Improve Heart Health
Though specific nutrients often go nameless, pectin deserves a little name recognition. This fruit-based fiber — located inside an apple’s cell walls — delivers such impressive health benefits that you can find it on store shelves as a supplement.
Pectin comes with a long list of health perks. However, the heart health benefits are the most inspiring, especially given 48% of Americans have some sort of cardiovascular disease.
This little-known nutrient can effectively lower cholesterol levels by up to 16%, slash high blood pressure, and lessen your heart disease risk.
If you’ve ever wondered about where an apple’s sour or tart kick comes from, the answer is malic acid. And, while the name might not ring a bell, this nutrient also offers a long-sought-after cosmetic benefit: pearly whites!
The teeth-whitening effect stems from the acid’s bleaching ability. So, little by little, that apple-eating habit will gradually de-stain yellowing teeth to leave behind whiter and more picturesque enamel.
Malic acid can also stir up extra saliva production, lessening the risk of tooth decay. It won’t replace your regular dental care routine, but it can give you that extra boost!
Improved Brain Health
It’s no surprise that apples are rich in natural compounds, antioxidants, and loads of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). But one specific nutrient found in apples — quercetin — is actually a brain-boosting flavonol.
Also seen in onions, broccoli, and berries, this nutrient can combat the free radical damage that leads to neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Early research suggests that it can preserve cognitive functioning in mice, potentially reversing the onset of neurological decline! However, it’s still unclear how this research will translate to humans.
However, it’s certainly promising in a nation where six million have Alzheimer’s and another seven million are predicted to develop the disorder by 2050.
Aid in Digestion
We started this list applauding the fiber content hidden in every medium-sized apple and the potential weight-loss perks it brought with it.
We’ll finish on a similar note: fiber!
An apple’s fiber-rich nutrient profile can help support an all-around healthy GI tract. So on top of shedding a few pounds and controlling your cravings, apples can also encourage well-formed stools while relieving constipation and diarrhea.
It can also lessen the risk of digestive tract infections. So if your digestive system is sensitive or your restroom trips are often unpredictable, an apple a day can help you become more “regular.”
Apples are an easy grab-and-go snack for the office, gym, and even cross-country road trips. But what happens when that once delicious crunch loses its appeal?
Replace your daily apple with an apple-infused recipe.
Whether it’s a crisp apple smoothie, nutritious apple muffins, or a fresh apple salad, there are hundreds of ways to spice things up in the kitchen with apples! Plus, you won’t need to sacrifice the fruit’s impressive health benefits.