Apples are one of the most popular fruits. Super-versatile as a snack or as an ingredient in sweet and savory dishes, it turns out they’re also packed with nutrition—here are a few of the health benefits of apples.
A medium apple provides about 10% of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C is important for helping fight fall colds by promoting proper immune system function. Talk about a delicious way to keep the doctor away! Vitamin C is also key for keeping your skin looking great by enhancing collagen production.
Most people have a hard time getting the recommended 25-35 grams of daily fiber, which is important for maintaining regular digestion, managing blood sugar, and promoting heart health by helping to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. Another great benefit to fiber is that it will help you stay satisfied after eating. One medium apple provides 4 grams, putting you well on your way to reaching your daily goal.
Apples are a handy snack when you’re trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight because they offer instant portion control. They take a while to eat, and a medium sized apple will only set you back about 95 calories. Plus, it’s hard to eat more than one apple in a sitting.
For a healthy travel- and desk-friendly snack, they’re great because they’re easily transportable and can sit out for a few days without getting overripe. The satisfying crispness of apples can fill the crunchy snack void on a day you’re feeling prone to stress-eating.
Antioxidants and Phytonutrients
Apples are a high-antioxidant food and also contain high amounts of polyphenols, phytonutrients, and flavonols. Numerous studies have linked them to reduced inflammation and disease risk. These nutrients fight damage caused by free radicals like cancer-causing compounds, environmental toxins, and more. For example, a 2016 review published in Nutrients showed an association between high intake of polyphenol-rich foods such as citrus and apples and decreased breast cancer risk. The study also highlighted benefits to breast cancer patients on a Mediterranean diet that included adequate amounts of these foods.
Quercetin, a type of flavonol found in apples, has been associated with a decrease in markers of inflammation in the body. Studies have shown quercetin to be beneficial to heart health by reducing stroke risk and lowering LDL cholesterol. It’s may also be beneficial to brain health.
Quercetin has also been studied for its role in potentially reducing risk of or slowing progression of neurodegeneration.
Regardless of which apple variety you choose, it’s hard to go wrong. Trying different types is a great way to experience the many flavors of fall.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, health coach, and writer with a passion for helping others experience a happier, calmer life and a balanced relationship with food. For those in need of some healthy-eating inspiration, Jess created five day's worth of delicious make-ahead lunches to make it even easier to eat well on a busy day. For more information on Jess, check out her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
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