Apple is one of the healthiest fruits out there and tastes great, so it’s no wonder that Americans are consuming more of it than ever before. In fact, according to data collected by Nielsen in 2011, the average American eats approximately 18 pounds of apples each year, or half an apple every week (1). But not all apples are created equal – some are genetically modified and can actually have adverse effects on your health.
1) Apples protect the heart
Apples are rich in dietary fiber, a nutrient that helps lower cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure and reduces risk for heart disease. In addition, apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that may slow down digestion and help prevent overeating by creating a feeling of fullness. Apples also contain quercetin, an antioxidant known to decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduce oxidative stress throughout our bodies. In other words: The next time you're looking for something delicious and nutritious on which to munch or bake with—apples! Just don't forget about their skin: Apples have been shown to have more nutrients when eaten with their skins than without.
2) Apples are good for digestion
Apples are rich in fiber, which means they help move things along as they travel through your digestive tract. Apples provide a high amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which also helps keep your blood sugar levels steady and makes them good for weight loss. What’s more, consuming just one apple can keep you feeling full for up to two hours, so if you’re trying to lose weight by snacking on foods that suppress hunger pangs between meals, apples are a great choice. By keeping your stomach filled with food throughout the day, you won’t need to turn to unhealthy snacks between meals that will only hurt your efforts toward weight loss.
3) Apples slow down cancer cell growth
The next time you crave some sweets, look for an apple. The fruit has a compound that fights tumors by blocking certain receptors from receiving messages from other cells, according to research published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Specifically, researchers found that applying these natural compounds—luteolin and phloridzin—to human colon cancer cells caused them to self-destruct because they couldn’t receive signals. Keep in mind that these compounds are also found in pears and grapes, so you don’t have to stick with apples all day long.
4) Apples may lower blood pressure
Some studies show that people who eat one apple a day have lower blood pressure than those who don’t. According to researchers, apples can help keep your blood pressure in check because they are packed with potassium and fiber, both of which support cardiovascular health. The powerful antioxidants in apples also protect against cell damage and are linked to a reduced risk for heart disease. Furthermore, because apples give you feelings of fullness while providing very few calories, they may be effective at weight loss. Apples’ soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels, making them especially good for people with high cholesterol or anyone trying to prevent heart disease. In addition, apples contain pectin (an indigestible carbohydrate) that may help maintain healthy gut bacteria.
5) Apples improve eye health
Research published in The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that phytonutrients in apples protect eyes from oxidative stress, which has been linked to age-related macular degeneration. Antioxidants in apples are also thought to promote good vision, boost concentration and reduce fatigue. Bonus: an apple a day is one thing you can do for your eyes that really does keep them healthy! Go ahead, take a bite out of a good thing.
6) Apples have antioxidants
One medium apple contains around five grams of soluble fiber, which increases metabolism and helps us feel fuller for longer. Apples are an excellent source of quercetin, a flavonoid with powerful antioxidant properties that may help lower risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. One study found that people who ate an apple per day lowered their chance of developing metabolic syndrome by as much as 40 percent over a six-year period. Another study showed that consumption of apples led to better memory in healthy adults compared with non-consumers; it's believed that eating apples can improve brain function by increasing blood flow. Quercetin is also believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may explain why some studies have shown a link between inflammation and obesity.
7) Apples are low in calories
Apples are low in calories and have no fat or cholesterol, which means they’re a great alternative to fatty foods like pizza. If you’re trying to lose weight, replace some meals with apples—and notice how your stomach feels fuller longer. Apples contain antioxidants: Apples also contain a special type of antioxidant called quercetin that supports cardiovascular health and has been shown to improve lung function and help treat asthma. Plus, antioxidants work as natural anti-inflammatory agents, protecting you from cellular damage. One apple can provide more than 15% of your daily requirement for vitamin C: Vitamin C helps boost your immune system by keeping dangerous free radicals at bay while iron maintains healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body.
While it might not come in quite as many shapes or sizes as an orange, there are just as many benefits from eating apples. As you can see from these 7 benefits, apples make a great snack. Be sure to include them in your daily diet for a healthy boost. But don’t stop at just one!
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