Apples are a popular fruit. They contain antioxidants, vitamins, dietary fiber, and a range of other nutrients. Due to their varied nutrient content, apples may help improve health in several ways.
Apples come in a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors. They provide a range of nutrients that can benefit many aspects of a person’s health.
Eating a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including apples, may help reduce the risk of several conditions, such as:
This article looks at the nutritional content of apples and how they may benefit a person’s health.
Apples are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which benefit human health. They also provide an array of antioxidants. These substances help neutralize free radicals.
Free radicals are reactive molecules that can build up as a result of natural processes and environmental pressures. If too many free radicals accumulate in the body, they can cause oxidative stress. This can lead to cell damage. Cell damage can contribute to a range of conditions, including cancer and diabetes.
Apples are an important source of antioxidants considering their widespread consumption, particularly in Northern Europe and the United States.
The sections below look at previous research into apples’ potential health benefits.
Improve mental health
Eating a diet rich in fruits, such as apples, may benefit a person’s mental health.
A 2020 systematic review found that consuming fruits and vegetables may have a positive impact on a person’s mental health. Researchers recommended a person eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to get the benefits.
A 2019 study involving immigrants in Canada found that a higher intake of fruit and vegetables lowered the participants’ odds of experiencing anxiety and mood disorders. Participants also reported an increase in good mental health.
Reduce the risk of stroke
Apples contain many nutrients that may lower the risk of stroke. One 2017 research review found, for example, that people who consume the most fiber appear to have a lower risk of:
A medium-sized apple around 3 inches in diameter and weighing 169 grams (g) provides 4.06 g of fiber. That is around 11–14% of an adult’s daily requirement, depending on their age and sex.
A 2019 study found that eating two raw apples per day for 8 weeks lowered levels of cholesterol among healthy people. However, drinking clear apple juice did not have the same impact.
Study authors therefore concluded it is the fiber in apples that helps reduce cholesterol.
Boost heart health
Apples contain fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. A medium-sized apple provides the following:
- 11–14% of a person’s daily fiber needs
- 10% of a person’s daily vitamin C needs
Fiber appears to help manage blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that, alongside other antioxidants, may play a role in protecting some aspects of heart health.
Vitamin C is also necessary for proper immune function, which may help defend the body from infections and diseases.
Lower the risk of diabetes
A 2021 study found that people who included whole fruits, such as apples, in their diet had a 36% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes at 5 years than those who did not eat fruit.
People who consume the most fiber have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who already have diabetes and eat a high fiber diet may also have lower blood sugar levels.
The American Diabetes Association recommends eating fresh fruit, including apples, to satisfy a sweet tooth and provide nutrition. However, the organization reminds people to account for the carbohydrate content in the fruit.
A 100 g portion of raw Granny Smith apple contains 13.2 g of carbohydrate, of which 10.6 g is sugar. However, it also provides dietary fiber and other nutrients. This means that, as a sweet snack, it has additional health benefits.
Lower the risk of cancer
Consuming antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent the oxidative stress that causes cell damage, which may lead to the development of certain cancers. Apples are a good source of antioxidants.
One 2016 meta-analysis concluded that consuming apples may help lower the risk of:
Fiber may also help reduce the risk of colon cancer, according to a 2018 meta-analysis.
Help maintain a moderate weight
The fiber in apples can help a person feel full for longer, making them less likely to overeat. This may help people manage their weight.
A 2020 study found that the dietary fiber in fruits and vegetables supported weight loss in women. The consumption of fruits and vegetables can reduce eating rate and provide fewer calories while being satisfying.
A 2022 study also found that whole Fuji apples have the potential to lower the cellular lipid level in 3T3-L1 cells, meaning they may have anti-obesity effects.
The table below shows the amount of nutrients in a medium raw apple.
It also shows how much an adult needs of each nutrient, according to the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A person’s needs vary according to their age and sex.
|Nutrient||Amount||Daily adult requirement (ages 19–30)|
|Energy (calories)||104||males: 2,400
|Total dietary fiber (g)||4.8||males: 34
|Iron (mg)||0.24||males: 8
|Magnesium (mg)||10||males: 400
|Potassium (mg)||214||males: 3,400
|Vitamin C (mg)||9.2||males: 90
There are many varieties of apples, as well as several ways of consuming them.
Some popular apple varieties include:
- McIntosh: a juicy, red apple with tender, white flesh and a tangy flavor
- Red delicious: a crisp, juicy red apple
- Fuji: a yellow and red apple with firm, sweet flesh
- Granny Smith: a green apple with crisp, greenish flesh and a sharp flavor
- Golden Delicious: a yellow apple with a mild, sweet flavor
- chopped in salads
- baked whole
- pies, pastries, and cakes
- curries and chutneys
- dried slices
Preferences vary, but many people prefer tart, tangy apples to make applesauce or apple pie. To avoid adding sugar, try pairing tart apples with sweet ones in cooking or adding spices to counter the sharpness.
Risks and Considerations
Eating an apple is unlikely to trigger serious side effects in most people, but some may need to take care.
The sections below list some potential risks of eating apples.
Apple seeds contain cyanide. Swallowing whole seeds is unlikely to cause harm, but chewing and swallowing many apple seeds could be dangerous.
Learn more about apple seeds and toxins.
Some people may have an allergic reaction after eating apples. Anyone who experiences hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention.
If these symptoms progress to anaphylaxis, it could become life threatening.
Find out more about apple allergies.
In the past, there was a widespread belief that eating an apple could help remove plaque from the teeth. However, studies have not found strong evidence of this. Brushing the teeth regularly is more likely to have this effect.
In addition, the acidic content of apples may contribute to a buildup of plaque. It is recommended for people to rinse their mouth with water or brush their teeth after eating an apple.
Young children and older adults who have difficulty swallowing may be at risk of choking on raw apple pieces. Consuming unsweetened applesauce or other forms of cooked apple may be a better option.
Original Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290#summary