Apples are one of the most popular fruits — and that’s a good thing. They’re an exceptionally healthy fruit with many research-backed benefits. This article lays out ten of the top health benefits of apples.
- Get whiter, healthier teeth
- Weight Loss
- Get a healthier heart
- Curb all sorts of cancers
- Reduce cholesterol
- Prevent gallstones
- Beat diarrhea and constipation
- Help fight Asthma
- Protect against Stomach injury
- Protect brain in older age
1 Apples Helps on Getting Whiter Teeth’s
Almost everyone would agree that eating nutrient and fiber-rich apples is extremely beneficial. Not only are they good for your body, but they help your teeth as well. Eating apples can actually aid in cleansing and brightening the teeth, due to their mildly acidic nature, they act as a mild astringent to your teeth. But don’t peel the apple. The fiber in the skin is essential in this process. The acid needs the help of the fiber-rich flesh of the apple.
Start stocking your fridge with a variety of crunchy fruits and vegetables. Crunchy foods such as apples, celery, and carrots, act like mini toothbrushes when you chew them. Eating these types of foods can actually help scrub away stubborn stains over time.
2 Apples May Be Good for Weight Loss
Apples are high in fiber and water — two qualities that make them filling.
In one study, participants who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller than those who consumed applesauce, apple juice or no apple products.
In the same study, those who started their meal with apple slices also ate an average of 200 fewer calories than those who didn’t.
In another study, 50 overweight women added either apples or oat cookies to their diets for 10 weeks. Each item had a similar calorie and fiber content. Those who ate apples lost an average of 2 lbs (1 kg) and ate fewer calories overall.
Researchers think that apples are more filling because they are less energy-dense, yet still deliver fiber and volume.
Furthermore, some natural compounds in them may promote weight loss.
A study of obese mice found those given a supplement of ground apples and apple juice concentrate lost more weight and had lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol than the control group.
Bottom Line: Apples may aid weight loss in several ways. They’re also particularly filling due to their high fiber content.
3 Apples May Be Good for Your Heart
We were pleasantly surprised …” that apples so effectively lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol, says study researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at The Florida State University in Tallahassee.
The study was presented at Experimental Biology 2011, in Washington, D.C.
Experts said the study’s results were consistent with previous evidence that apples do indeed live up to the famous adage about keeping the doctor away.
“When we look at the whole composite of human studies and animal studies and in vitro lab studies, when you look at the active components in apples and apple juice, there’s definitely benefit,” says Dianne A. Hyson, PhD, RD, a nutritionist and researcher at the University of California at Davis.
Hyson, who was not involved in the current research, recently completed a review of 80 studies, published since 2005, on the health benefits of apples, and she says that in addition to their cardiovascular benefits, there’s some evidence that apples help regulate blood sugar and control appetite, protect against cancer, and safeguard the lungs.
4 Substances in Apples May Help Prevent Cancer
Apples contain cell protective plant chemicals called flavonoids, which act as antioxidants by scavenging free radicals that are destructive to your genes and by supporting normal inflammation control. Cancer is a disease characterized by increased inflammation and oxidative stress from roaming electrons, which damage your DNA the way rust damages metal. This damage is the first step in the development of cancer. Eating foods rich in protective plant chemicals is not only a powerful way to protect your genes, but to turn genes on and off as well. Just think about it… your food is talking to your genes!
According to Cornell University researchers Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai Liu in their review article “Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits, “Several studies have specifically linked apple consumption with a reduced risk for cancer.”
Apples are rich in plant chemicals, which do just that. Most of the flavonoids are in the skin, so don’t peel your apples! Eat them organic whenever possible. If you cannot find organic apples, wash them well in warm water to remove wax coatings used to increase shelf life but not good for your health!
5 Apple help reduce cholesterol.
According to Arjmandi, apple pectin — the white stuff under the skin — binds to cholesterol in the gut and ferries it out of the body. This is well-known, but what surprised Arjmandi is how much cholesterol a couple of apples can remove from the body.
In one recent study, he divided 160 women between the ages of 45 and 65 into two groups. One group ate 75 grams of dried apple per day — about 2 1/2 ounces — while the other ate the same amount of dried prunes. To his amazement, the women who ate apples experienced a 23 percent decrease in LDL "bad" cholesterol, and increased their HDL "good" cholesterol by 3 percent to 4 percent — a boost difficult to achieve with drugs or exercise.
The women who ate the dried prunes experienced no such effects on their cholesterol, although another study found that women who ate 10 prunes per day, while taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, had higher bone density in their forearms and spine than women who ate apples.
Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver. Statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Crestor, reduce cholesterol very effectively by blocking an enzyme needed to make it. The problem is that statins can be hard on the liver, which is why people who take them must have a blood test periodically to make sure their liver is not becoming irritated and inflamed.
6 Substances in Apples May Help Prevent Gallstones
The gallbladder is designed to work in conjunction with the liver to digest food and eliminate toxins. But when one or both of these vital organs gets clogged up due to poor nutrition or toxic buildup, cholesterol can crystallize with calcium to form gallstones. At this point, it becomes much more difficult to break these stones down and prevent them from further complicating your health.
Juicing fresh, alkalizing fruits and vegetables, however, can help quell inflammation and enzymatically detoxify both your liver and gallbladder on a regular basis. Raw, unfiltered apple juice, which is rich in pectin, will help soften and disintegrate any existing gallstones, as well as prevent new ones from forming. Lemons, celery, tomatoes, and beets are also excellent additions to any daily juicing regimen.
7 Apples May Help Prevent Diarrhea
Your body can lose a lot of fluids and salts when you have diarrhea, making dehydration a major concern. Frequent loose and watery stools can quickly lead to fluid loss. Here are some easy ways to stay hydrated:
•Select sports drinks. “Sports drinks make sense and are available in a wide variety of flavors," Dr. Bickston says. Sports drink work because of their sugar and salt content, both allow water to be more easily absorbed, and even more so when taken together. People can make their own sports drinks by adding a teaspoon of salt to a quart of apple juice, Bickston says. “That little amount of salt will help the body absorb fluids but isn't enough to make the apple juice taste bad.” Bickston recommends keeping your drinks at room temperature because a warm drink will sit better with you than a cold one.
•Stick to clear liquids. Some other good choices for treating diarrhea include clear broth and water (unless you are traveling out of the country).
•Avoid drinks that can worsen symptoms. Caffeinated, alcoholic, and sugary drinks can worsen dehydration. Milk and other dairy products can make your symptoms feel worse because diarrhea can cause temporary lactose-intolerance.
8 Apple helps fight asthma
The symptoms of asthma – wheezing, coughing and a tight chest – are caused by inflammation and over-sensitivity of the airways. Possible triggers include cold air, exercise, certain foods, infection, weather and allergies.
In a study published in the American Journal Of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine, UK researchers reported that adults who ate at least two apples a week reduced their asthma risk by up to a third. In a separate study, children of mothers who ate apples during pregnancy were found to be significantly less asthma-prone in their first five years.
Apples and their juice appear to have an anti-asthma effect stronger than any other food. This may be due to their high levels of antioxidants — natural disease fighters which have an anti-inflammatory benefit — a 100g apple contains three times the antioxidants of an orange and eight times that of a banana.
Action: An apple’s antioxidant content is contained mainly in its peel, so eat an unpeeled apple once a day.
9 Apple protect against Stomach injury
The protective role of two apple polyphenol extracts, Douglas-FB (FB) and Douglas-EF (EF), on gastric mucosal damage following aspirin ingestion was investigated in healthy rats. Polyphenol content of the apple extracts varied, with the EF extract having 20% w/w polyphenols and a high proportion of flavanols as epicatechin and procyanidin, whereas the FB extract comprised 12% w/w polyphenols, which were mostly flavonols as quercetin glycosides. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were allocated to control, FB and EF groups and fed the experimental diet during the 10-day trial. Control treatment rats received 1 mL of deionised water, whereas apple polyphenol treatment group rats, FB and EF received a concentration of 10(-2) m polyphenols in 1 mL deionised water daily via oral gavage. At the end of 10-day feeding period, rats were fasted overnight, and the following morning, aspirin (200 mg/kg) was given by oral gavage. Four hours after aspirin administration, the animals were euthanised, and samples taken for analysis. Both apple polyphenol extracts significantly reduced the ulcer area, ulcer lesion index and gastric injury score. The glutathione in gastric mucosa was increased significantly in rats given FB apple extract. Despite their different polyphenol compositions, FB and EF apple extracts assisted in protecting the gastric mucosa following acute aspirin administration in rats.
10 The Antioxidants in Apples May Help Protect Your Brain in Old Age
Most research focuses on apple peel and flesh.
However, apple juice may potentially have benefits for age-related mental decline.
In animal studies, juice concentrate reduced harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in brain tissue and minimized mental decline (15).
Apple juice may help preserve acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can decline with age. Low levels of acetylcholine are linked to Alzheimer’s disease (10).
Researchers who fed elderly rats whole apples found that a marker of the rats’ memory was restored to the level of younger rats (10).
That being said, whole apples contain all the same compounds as apple juice. It is always a healthier choice to eat your fruit whole.
Bottom Line: According to animal studies, apple juice may help prevent the decline of neurotransmitters that are involved in memory.