6 Surprising Health Benefits of Apples, According to Nutritionists
Crunchy, sweet, refreshing. An apple with almond butter and a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Apple slaw with our plant-based patty for lunch or dinner. A post-dinner treat of apple and hazelnut butter? We’ll take an apple any time of day — and no surprise here — nutrition pros are just fine with that. What’s more: “While all fruits are healthy, apples are affordable and, as an environmental bonus, are not plastic-wrapped,” notes Karen Graham, RD, CDE, co-author of Diabetes Essentials.
Below, they weigh in on six amazing reasons to eat an apple.
1. Apples help decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease
“Apples contain phytochemicals, which are a potent antioxidant nutrient, and have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease,” says Filipa Bellette, Ph.D., Clinical Nutritionist, co-founder of virtual health practice Chris & Filly Functional Medicine in Tasmania, Australia. Want to load up on more heart-healthy eats? Check out these seven incredible plant-based foods to protect your ticker.
2. Apples help your microbiome
Bellette loves the positive benefits apples produce for your gut. “Apple peel contains pectin, which is the prebiotic potential for promoting the growth of anti-inflammatory commensal bacteria in the colon,” she says, citing research.
3. Apples fight inflammation
If you want to eat to lower the risk of disease and prevent infection, eating anti-inflammatory foods is an incredible tool at your disposal. We’re happy to report that apples fit the bill.
“Apples are high in vitamin C, which is important for the immune system for reducing inflammation,” says Bellette, emphasizing that vitamin C is also key for many other bodily functions.
4. Apples may help you lower your cholesterol
Another reason Graham sings the praises of apples? They may help keep LDL or the unhealthy kind of cholesterol in check. A 2019 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition may change the old adage to: ‘Two apples a day keeps the doctor away.’ This study showed that people who ate two apples daily were able to reduce their LDL cholesterol,” comments Graham. Aligning with Bellette’s discussion of apples being a potent food for heart health, Graham continues, “Reducing LDL cholesterol is important in the fight against heart disease. The benefits are likely due to the fiber in apples and perhaps also due to the polyphenols, which are plant compounds.” FYI: This benefit results from eating the whole fruit, not from drinking apple juice.
5. Apples may assist you in your weight loss efforts
If you’re hoping to shed some pounds, incorporating fiber-filled apples into your diet on the regular is a smart move. (Thanks to their fiber they also help keep you regular, too.) “Studies demonstrate that apples can assist in weight loss, due to the polyphenols in apples which promote anti-obesity effects by scavenging free radicals and regulating gene expression,” says Bellette.
Potassium is a mineral that is high in apples also - potassium is essential for cardiovascular health. Apples are also packed with antioxidant nutrients, such as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, chlorogenic acid.
6. They’re a diabetes superfood
“Raw apples are an excellent source of prebiotic unbroken soluble fiber and enzymes, which probiotic gut bacteria grow on,” explains Graham. “Probiotics have a role in digesting food, slowing down blood sugar rise after a meal,” she continues, noting that probiotics also help build a strong immune system.
Echoing Bellette’s earlier comments, Graham also highlights that apples contain “super nutrients” vitamin C and potassium. “Vitamin C is important in healing wounds and potassium helps manage blood pressure,” she says. Food can truly be thy medicine, folks.