Apples are still the apple of many eyes, but let’s be real – apples don’t have the same pizzazz or panache of some of the more flamboyant fruits that are trending nowadays. Some of those more fascinatingly fashionable fruits that have nudged apples out of the dietary spotlight include blueberries, strawberries, papaya, avocados (yes, they’re fruits), and guavas.
One knock against apples is their relatively high sugar content compared to other healthy-fruit notables, yet it’s not so terrible as to warrant crossing apples off your healthy-eating grocery list. Let’s give apples a break – cutting them into slices is often much preferred to trying to bite your way through one without losing a tooth or having a squirt of apple juice hitting you square in the eyeball.
If you now regard apples as too “common” a fruit – dare we say “boring” – to include in your fruit bowl, shame on you. By now you’ve heard the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” at least a thousand times. (If not, it’s time to take out the ear buds.) There’s a lot of truth to that (to the saying, not the number of times you’ve heard it), as many health experts still refer to apples as a “miracle food,” per medicalnewstoday.com.
A Quick Primer on Apples
You might have noticed that not all apples are the same, although the actual variety might shock you. There are more than 7,500 types of apples in an assortment of colors – red, yellow, and green, per organicfacts.net.
One piece of good news about apples is that they have no fat, sodium, or cholesterol; the better news is that they are rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and some members of the B-complex series of vitamins. Their abundance of energy and water make them a great choice if you are looking to eat a healthy food that also makes you feel full longer, deterring you from partaking of between-meal snacks that tend to pack on the extra pounds. Other apple ingredients, per organicfacts.net, contributing to good health include:
- Vitamin K
- Other polyphenolic compounds
10 Areas in Which Apples Can Benefit Your Health
- Brain. Researchers have found that regular consumption of apples can protect neurons from oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity, which can help in diminishing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, per medicalnewstoday.com. Apples can also boost the level of acetylcholine, a compound that has been associated with enhancing concentration, problem-solving, and memory, per organicfacts.net.
- Detoxify. Apple juice, per naturalfoodseries.com, is believed to be effective as a healthy alternative to detox diets, with the aim to keep liver health by expelling toxins from the body.
- Diabetes. The polyphenols in apples are believed to help control diabetes by minimizing the variations in blood-sugar levels. Furthermore, the polyphenols can reduce the absorption of glucose in the digestive tract and, in so doing, trigger the release of insulin from the pancreas, which also helps maintain healthier blood-sugar levels, per organicfacts.net.
- Energy. Eating an apple before a workout releases quercetin and antioxidants, which aids in providing a boosted supply of oxygen through improved blood circulation.
- Gut. The dietary fiber found in apples is believed to be effective in fending off intestinal disorders such as hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. By also bolstering the removal of excess water in the body, that same fiber can help treat diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other stomach disorders.
- Heart. Speaking of apple-provided fiber, it also can help clean out cholesterol waste from our veins and arteries to help maintain good heart health and lower the risk of atherosclerosis. Another heart-related feature of apples is that, as an antioxidant, it can diminish fat oxidization. The quercetin in apples – a flavonoid – can cut back on blood vessel inflammation, while epicatechin – a polyphenol – can reduce hypertension.
- Immune system. The key apple ingredients in this regard are vitamin C, protein, and various antioxidants that can boost the immune system and help in preventing weakness while enhancing muscle tone.
- Oral health. Two things in particular: 1. The malic acid in apples helps keep our teeth white and shiny, and 2. The mere act of eating apples stimulates production of saliva, which assists in killing bacteria and viruses that could contribute to tooth decay.
- Skin/aging. Apples are known for increasing collagen production, which helps stave off premature aging and wrinkles in the skin. The Vitamin A in apples also can help prevent wrinkles and sagging.
- Vision. The flavonoids and phytonutrients (antioxidants) found in apples can cut down on the impact free radicals can have on our eyes, thus preventing a number of vision-related issues. The antioxidants can also help prevent cataracts.