Fall is primetime for apples as they come into all their glory with a range of variable flavors and hues of red to green. The familiar saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” appears to have quite a bit of truth in that statement. Numerous research has shown many positive advantages to eating one of the most common and favorite fruit in the world. From its origination in the Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan millions of years ago, apples are still enjoyed and are recognized as being an important part of a healthy diet.
Health benefits of apples
1. Good source of fiber
A medium sized apple provides 4 grams of fiber – leave the peel on as it contains the majority of fiber along with many antioxidants. The fiber composition includes soluble fiber (pectin) on the inside and insoluble fiber (cellulose) in the peel. Soluble fiber helps remove cholesterol, and slows down glucose absorption. Insoluble fiber prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticular disease.
2. Aids in weight control
Apples are the perfect easy snack containing about 80 calories, no fat or cholesterol and the fiber content provides satiety preventing overeating. A Brazilian study in Nutrition showed overweight women who ate apples lost more weight than women who did not eat fruit in their diet. Eating an apple 15 minutes before a meal will result in a 15% calorie decrease.
3. Reduces asthma
Pregnant women should eat apples as their children are much less likely to develop asthma by age 5 according to a comprehensive review. Among all the foods studied, apples were the only fruit that had this protective association.
4. Promotes gut health
Your intestinal tract loves when you eat apples. The fiber pectin is perfect for increasing good bacteria and apples are packed with it. Beneficial bacteria revel in feeding on pectin, allowing them to reproduce and flourish helping to keep the intestinal tract working like a charm.
5. Improves brain health and may reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Drinking apple juice may be one way to boost brain power and reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease. Research on mice showed when given apple juice each day, they performed better on cognitive tests. It appeared apple juice was also linked to a lower production of beta-amyloid plaques within the mice. Past studies in humans have shown drinking apple juice may prevent the decline of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is necessary for transmitting messages to other nerve cells that are crucial for memory and brain health. When acetylcholine is increased in people with Alzheimer’s, mental decline is slowed down.
6. Improves cardiovascular health
A research review showed apples contain a rich source of polyphenols and fiber which have a positive effect on reducing inflammation associated with heart disease along with decreasing ischemic heart disease mortality and thrombotic stroke. A daily consumption of apples can reduce damage from LDL cholesterol and may decrease the risk of dying from a heart attack.