You have probably heard the old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but you might be wondering specifically what the apple benefits of an apple really are. Apples are such a commonplace fruit that they are often overlooked in favor of more exotic “superfruits” like acai berries and dragon fruit.
However, apples are superfruits themselves, because they are a great source of dietary fiber and powerful antioxidants. According to a study by St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, people who eat five or more apples a week have better lung function than those who do not. Read our list of five apple health benefits to learn what this ordinary fruit can do for you.
1. Regulates Your Blood Sugar
Apples are rich in soluble fiber, which regulates your blood sugar and slows the entry of glucose into the bloodstream. People who eat at least one apple a day are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
2. Lowers Cholesterol and Prevents Heart Disease
Soluble fiber lowers LDL blood cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber in apples binds with fat in the intestine, slowing down the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries. Apples are also rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that prevent heart disease.
However, most of the fiber and antioxidants in apples are contained in the skin, so eat the peel. Wash conventionally grown apples carefully before eating them, because they have been sprayed with pesticides. Waxed apples should be peeled because the wax prevents pesticide residues from being washed off.
3. Helps You Lose Weight
Apples are a filling, sweet snack with a modest amount of calories. A medium-sized apple contains approximately four grams of soluble fiber, which slows the digestion of food. Eating apples can help you manage your hunger and feel more satisfied at mealtime. Consume one medium-sized apple 15 minutes before a meal in order to reduce your caloric intake at that meal.
4. Contains Disease-fighting Compounds
Apples contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that protects your brain cells from degeneration and fights Alzheimer’s disease. Procyanidins are another type of antioxidant found in apples that trigger a series of cell signals that cause cancer cell death. Researchers at Cornell University have also discovered that apple peels contain triterpenoids, which prevent the growth of cancer cells in the liver, breast, and colon.
5. Boosts Oral Health
An apple a day does not just keep the doctor away – it also keeps the dentist away. Apples have even been called nature’s toothbrush, because biting and chewing an apple stimulates the gums. Furthermore, the sweetness of an apple increases the flow of saliva, which lowers the level of bacteria in your mouth and helps to prevent tooth decay.
There are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the US alone, and in 2010, the average consumption of all forms of apples in the US was about 48 pounds per person (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center), making apples one of America’s favourite fruits. If you would like to improve your health through diet, consider jumping on the apple band wagon by taking the above apple health benefits into account.