We’ve all come across the old proverb – An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but how much of it is true today keeping in mind all the lifestyle changes? If you look at the nutritional value of apples, you might conclude that the proverb still stands true. Apples are a superfood and one medium-sized apple contains less than 100 calories. They are rich in dietary fibre, Vitamin C, phytonutrients and more. In fact, the skin of the apple is rich in quercetin which protects brain cells. A study listed in the US National Library of Medicine also mentions that apple peels also help in inhibiting the growth of liver cancer and colon cancer cells.
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Interesting Facts about Apple
Apple trees are known to have originated in Central Asia and have been grown throughout Asia and Europe. Apples also have various religious and mythological connotations in Norse, Greek and European Christian traditions. They are mostly grown from seeds and grow very large in size but they are also grown by root grafting which helps in controlling the size of the tree, as well as including certain characteristics. The taste and uses of apples differ with various varieties and its consumption is usually preferred along with its skin.
Health Benefits and Uses of Apples
1. Aids in weight loss
Instituto de Medicina Social, State University of Rio de Janeiro conducted a study on overweight, non-smoking women between 30 – 50 years of age. The research concluded that women who ate fruits (apples, pears) had lost a significant amount of weight. The fibre and water content in apples had made them filling, improved digestion and therefore promoted weight loss.
2. Improves heart health
The Women’s Health Study surveyed nearly 40,000 women and concluded that the intake of flavonoids which comes with the digestion of apples reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Antioxidants present in apples neutralise fats found in blood vessels and other compounds lower blood pressure in the body. Having apples is therefore good for improving heart health.
3. Lowers the risk of diabetes
In a study conducted by the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland on 10,000 people, it was found that consumption of apples reduced the risk of Type II diabetes. In fact, a higher intake of apple skin which contains quercetin also decreased the risk of diabetes.
4. Improves digestion
Apples contain pectin, a fibre that improves the levels of good bacteria in the gut thus, stimulating metabolism. It further maximizes the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body while eliminating harmful toxins.
5. May prevent certain types of cancer
Polyphenols present in apple juice reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in men as stated by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Flavonoids present in apple also showed a decrease in lung cancer development according to a Finnish study.
6. Increases bone density
The US National Library of medicine also mentions a study by French researchers which mentions that apples contain polyphenols, flavonoids and boron that help protect bones, reduce inflammation and increase bone density.
7. Benefits neurological health
A study published in the Journal of Food Science suggests that including apples in your diet may benefit neurological health. Apples increase the amount of acetylcholine in the brain which improves memory. By reducing oxidative stress, apples might also be beneficial for conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
8. Decreases the risk of asthma
Apple consumption reduces the risk of asthma and improves pulmonary function. A study conducted in Victoria, Australia concluded this decreased risk along with a decrease in bronchial hypersensitivity.
9. Reduces the effects of ageing
A study mentioned in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine proved that the nutrients present in apples reduce oxidative stress. Dietary fibres and Vitamins also help you in improving your skin health.
A study in the International Research Journal of Biological Sciences showcases the amount of iron and ascorbic acid present in apples, closing the fact that iron absorption leads to better haemoglobin levels. A high amount of Vitamin C or ascorbic acid present in apples, helps absorb iron in the body and therefore treat anaemia.
Also Read: Plum Benefits | Pineapple Benefits
Nutritional Value of Apple
According to Nutrition Data, here is the nutritional value for apples:
- Calories – 3% DV (Daily Value)
- Protein – 1% DV
- Total Carbohydrate – 6% DV
- Dietary Fibre – 12% DV
Dietary fibre in apples help in digestion and munching on an apple might be good for health as they may also aid in losing weight.
- Vitamin A – 67.5 IU (International Unit)
- Vitamin C – 5.7 mg
One medium-sized apple has almost 14% of your daily need for Vitamin C which has various benefits on skin, hair and overall health. It aids in collagen production which helps to tone the skin, reducing the effects of aging. It also improves skin and hair texture, fights dandruff and premature greying.
- Total Fat – 0.2 g
- Potassium – 134 mg
- Magnesium – 6.3 mg
- Calcium – 7.5 mg
- Phosphorus – 13.8 mg
Phosphorus is a mineral that is mostly found in the bones and teeth of our body. A good amount of phosphorus present in apples works with calcium to keep your bones strong and healthy. It also brings more energy to the body and supports growth.
Also Read: Calories In Strawberries | Papaya Calories
Risks or Precautions when consuming Apples
- Eating apples in excess may lead to weight gain
- Apples are acidic in nature and apple juice might erode the enamel of your teeth
- Since apples are acidic, snacking on them at meal times is much safer than eating them throughout the day as it might damaging
- Apple seeds can be poisonous and it is best to avoid eating them
- Unpasteurized apple juice or cider can lead to various bacterial infections
- Some people might be prone to a form of apple allergy
How to consume Apples
Apples come in various colours and varieties, you can choose any variety you like to eat. There are also certain varieties of apples that are known as cooking or culinary apples, like Bramley apples. They are generally larger and tarter and can be best enjoyed when cooked. Apple sauce, butter or fruit preserves can be made. They can also be baked and served with custard, made into pies or apple crumble.
Having apples as a fruit instead of juicing it is a better way to consume it as the juice might erode the teeth enamel.
Candy, toffee or caramel apples make a delicious holiday treat. Apple pies, cakes and jelly are also a nice way to include apple in your diet.
Apple cider vinegar is also quite beneficial. You can consume it in limited quantities or use it for hair conditioning, skin care and as a cleaning agent.
Consumption of Apple cider vinegar can cure a sore throat, prevent indigestion, aid in removing dandruff, clearing acne, reduce night time leg cramps, kills bad breath and more!
Some Fun Facts about Apples
- The strangest fact ever, apples are members of the rose family!
- The Guinness World Record for the heaviest apple ever grown and picked was 1.849 kg, Japan (2005).
- The number of seeds present in the seed pocket of an apple determine the vigour and health of the plant. Although, different varieties have different number of seeds.
- Refrigerating apples maybe a good idea as they ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature.
- You can pick your favourite shade of apple as they come in all shades of red, green and yellow.
- There are 7,500 varieties of apples grown throughout the world.
- Swallowing a lot of apple seeds might be fatal as they contain a substance called amygdalin, which can release cyanide, a powerful poison.
Apples are a powerhouse of nutrients and you can improve your health with every bite of it. Other than providing overall health benefits, its nutritional content can make it your new best friend for good skin and health. So the next time you’re out grocery shopping doesn’t forget to get some apples for yourself.