10 Impressive Health Benefits of Apples

This nutritious fruit offers multiple health benefits. Apples may lower your chance of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Research says apples may also help you lose weight while improving your gut and brain health.

Apples are the most widely consumed fruit globally.

From sweet red varieties, like Red Delicious, Fuji, or Gala, to tangy green ones, like Granny Smith — my favorite with lime juice and a little salt when I want a savory snack — there is an apple for everyone.

They’re commonly used in recipes like pies, cookies, muffins, jam, salads, oatmeal, or smoothies. They also make a great snack or wedged and smeared with nut butter.

In addition to their culinary versatility and numerous colors and flavors, apples are an exceptionally healthy fruit with many research-backed benefits.

Here are eight impressive health benefits of apples.

1. Nutritious

Apples are considered nutrient-dense fruits, meaning they provide a lot of nutrients per serving.

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 cups of fruit daily for a 2,000-calorie diet, emphasizing whole fruits like apples.

One medium 7-ounce (oz) or 200 grams (g) apple offers the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 104
  • Carbs: 28 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Vitamin C: 10% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Copper: 6% of the DV
  • Potassium: 5% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 4% of the DV

The same serving also provides 2–5% of the DV for vitamins E, B1, and B6.

Apples are also a rich source of polyphenols, an important group of antioxidants. While nutrition labels don’t list these plant compounds, they’re likely responsible for many of apples’ health benefits.

To get the most out of apples, leave the skin on, as it contains half of the fiber and most of the polyphenols.

Summary

Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants, like vitamin E, and polyphenols, contributing to the fruit’s numerous health benefits.

2. May support weight loss

Apples are high in fiber and water, which makes them filling.

In one study, eating whole apples increased fullness more than consuming equal amounts of apple juice. This may happen because whole apples reduce gastric emptying — the rate at which your stomach empties.

Research also suggests apple intake may significantly reduce Body Mass Index (BMI), a weight-related risk factor for heart disease.

Interestingly, apple polyphenols may also have anti-obesity effects.

Summary

Apples are particularly filling due to their high fiber and water content. Their polyphenols may also have anti-obesity effects.

3. Could be good for your heart

Apples have been linked to a lower chance of heart disease. Research has found that eating 100-150 g/d of whole apples is associated with a lower chance of heart disease and risk factors such as high blood pressure.

One reason may be that they contain soluble fiber. This fiber is also associated with a lower chance of heart disease.

Another reason may be that they offer polyphenols. Some of these may help lower blood pressure. Studies have also linked high intakes of flavonoids with a lower chance of stroke.

Another study has also linked eating apples to a reduced chance of stroke.

Summary

Apples promote heart health in several ways. They’re high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. They also have polyphenols linked to lower blood pressure and chance of stroke.

4. Linked to a lower chance of diabetes

Eating apples may also reduce your chance of type 2 diabetes.

A compilation of studies found that eating apples and pears was associated with an 18% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk. Just one serving per week may reduce the risk by 3%.

The high amount of the polyphenol quercetin in apples could explain this beneficial effect.

Summary

Eating apples is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, potentially due to their polyphenol content.

5. May promote gut health

Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic in your gut microbiome, and a healthy gut is often key to better health.

Since dietary fiber cannot be digested, pectin reaches your colon intact, promoting the growth of good bacteria. It especially improves the ratio of Bacteriodetes to Firmicutes, the two main types of bacteria in your gut.

New research suggests that, by beneficially altering your gut microbiota, apples may help protect against chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Summary

The type of fiber found in apples improves your gut-friendly bacteria, which may be why the fruit is thought to help protect against chronic diseases.

6. May help prevent cancer

Antioxidants in apples may offer beneficial effects against certain types of cancers, including lung, breast, and digestive tract cancers.

Research suggests these effects may be attributed to apple polyphenols keeping cancerous cells from multiplying.

Moreover, one study in women reported that higher apple intakes were linked to a lower chance of cancer death.

However, further human research is needed to better understand the possible link between apples and cancer prevention — for example, to identify adequate amounts and eating timing.

Summary

Apple’s fiber and antioxidant content has been linked to a reduced chance of getting certain types of cancer. However, more research on humans is needed.

7. Could help fight asthma

Antioxidant-rich apples may help reduce airway inflammation related to allergic asthma.

Apple skin is rich in the antioxidant quercetin, which can help regulate your immune system and reduce inflammation. Theoretically, this could make apples effective against late phases of bronchial asthma responses.

Supporting this, test-tube and animal studies suggest quercetin may be suitable for allergic inflammatory diseases like asthma and sinusitis.

Still, more human research is needed on the topic.

Summary

Apples contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help regulate immune responses and protect against asthma. However, more research, especially in humans, is needed.

8. May help protect your brain

Quercetin in apples may protect your brain from damage caused by oxidative stress.

A meta-analysis of 14 animal studies suggests quercetin may have some preventive properties against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Still, the researchers questioned some of the study methodologies and believed more research is needed to conclude.

Remember that most research focuses on a specific compound instead of whole apples. Therefore, further research is still needed, specifically on the effects of apples, before any conclusions can be drawn.

Summary

Quercetin in apples may protect your brain against oxidative stress. However, further research is needed to validate the effect of eating the whole fruit.

9. May improve mental health

Eating more vegetables and fruit like apples may help your mental health, according to one 2020 systematic review.

That said, the study found this benefit kicks in if you eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily, consistent with the recommendations of the American Dietary Guidelines for daily fruit and vegetable intake.

In addition, a 2022 British study found that adolescents who consume fewer vegetables and fruit in their diet tend to have poorer mental health.

10. May help with digestive diseases

Research suggests that eating fruit like apples may help reduce the chance of getting gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Multiple studies have also suggested that eating apples can help your food digest better, which may be helpful with constipation. But the extent of the effect may depend on the type of apple you’re eating.

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