7 Surprising Health Benefits Of Apples, According To Experts
It's finally fall, the season that's synonymous with everything apples. People head to orchards to go apple picking, drink warm apple cider, and indulge in fresh apple pie that tastes like it was made by somebody's grandmother. And go right ahead and eat all the apples you want because that old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," is pretty on point. If you're not in the know about the surprising health boosts of apples, you should be.
Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, tells Bustle that this fall fruit has tons of other health benefits aside from keeping the doctor away.
"Apples are a source of both types of fiber (insoluble and soluble). This helps stool move through the gut and bulks stool as well. Furthermore, apples have two main phytochemicals — pectin and quercetin, which are beneficial. Pectin helps stool gel in the intestines and may help lower LDL [bad] cholesterol. Quercetin is an antioxidant that may help cells protect themselves against damaging free radicals (cell damage is linked to everything from aging to cancer)."
Basically, apples are working hard to keep you healthy, and they offer myriad benefits for every part of your body and soul.
1. Apples Support Gut Health
As was reported in the in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, apples are rich in probiotics, especially the stems and skin. And a probiotic-rich diet supports diverse gut microbiome, which can potentially protect you from cardiac conditions and autoimmune diseases, among other benefits that scientists are still uncovering.
2. Apples May Offer Cancer Protection
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the phytochemicals and fiber in apples contain antioxidant properties that could potentially protect cell DNA from oxidative damage, which can help prevent cancer. "Animal and cell studies have found that these chemicals can prevent new cancer cells from growing and the spread of existing cancer cells," the school noted.
3. Apples Lower Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
A 2013 study published in the journal BMJ found that consuming fresh, whole fruits — especially apples, grapes, and blueberries — significantly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to other health issues like nerve damage, heart and blood vessel issues, kidney conditions, sleep apnea, or more, according to the Mayo Clinic.
4. Apples Have Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
A 2010 study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that the soluble fiber found in apples reduces inflammation associated with some diseases. "Soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cells — they go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infection," Gregory Freund, a professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine, said in a news release.
5. Apples Support Heart Health
According to a 2016 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, heart disease is the leading cause of early death globally. However, the study found that you can significantly lower your risk for cardiovascular disease by eating fresh fruit, including apples.
6. Apples Lower Cholesterol
You probably don't spending much time thinking about cholesterol because it's something only older folks need to worry about, right? Unfortunately, you can have high cholesterol at any age. But the good news is that a study published the journal Advances in Nutrition reported that both eating apples and drinking apple juice is associated with reducing overall cholesterol levels.
7. Apples Promote Mindful Eating
Similar to noshing on an ear of corn, eating an apple is a commitment, which is actually a really good thing. "Practically, since apples take so long to chew and eat, they often are considered to be very filling and may help spur mindful eating processes," Moreno says.
Seriously, is there anything apples can't do? While apples, like everything else, aren't a cure-all for health issues, they are a nutrient-dense part of any fall food plan. Go forth and enjoy the fruits of autumn.