Apples are among the world’s most popular fruits. And for good reason! They’re delicious and the health benefits of apples are numerous.
Apples grow on apple trees (Malus domestica), originally from Central Asia.
They are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They are also very filling, despite being low in calories. And multiple studies show that eating apples are beneficial for your health (1, 2).
Apples can be eaten raw, but they can also be used in a variety of recipes, juices, and beverages. There are many different sorts available, each with its own distinct color and size.
This post will answer all of your questions about apples.
Apple Nutrition Facts
Here are the nutrition facts for some of the most popular types of apples. The following facts are for one raw, unpeeled, medium apple (212 grams):
|Red Delicious||Granny Smith||Fuji||Gala||Honey Crisp|
|Calories: 125||Calories: 123||Calories: 133.1||Calories: 120.8||Calories: 110.2|
|Water: 86%||Water: 86%||Water: 86%||Water: 86%||Water: 86%|
|Protein: 0.6g||Protein: 0.9g||Protein: 0.4g||Protein: 0.5g||Protein: 0.6g|
|Carbs: 30g||Carbs: 29.7g||Carbs: 31.9g||Carbs: 29.7g||Carbs: 29.7g|
|Sugar: 22g||Sugar: 20.4g||Sugar: 24.2g||Sugar: 21.2g||Sugar: 21.2g|
|Fiber: 4.9g||Fiber: 5.9g||Fiber: 4.4g||Fiber: 4.9g||Fiber: 5.1g|
|Fat: 0.4g||Fat: 0.4g||Fat: 0.4g||Fat: 0.3g||Fat: 0.4g|
Carbohydrates in Apples
Apples are mostly made up of carbohydrates and water. Specifically, they’re rich in the simple sugars fructose, sucrose, and glucose.
Despite their high carb and sugar contents, the glycemic index (GI) of apples is low, ranging from 29-44.
The glycemic index is a metric that ranks foods on how they affect blood sugar levels following a meal. Low GI values are linked to a range of health benefits (3).
Although apples are relatively high in sugar content, their GI is low due to their high fiber and polyphenol content (4).
But that’s only part of the story. Apples also have a very low glycemic load (GL), coming in around 6 (5).
The GL gives you a more accurate measure of how a food will actually affect your blood sugar. GL tells you how quickly glucose will enter your bloodstream and how much glucose per serving the food will actually deliver (6).
A GL of less than 10 is low, 11 to 20 is moderate, and a GL of greater than 20 is considered high.
Fiber in Apples
Apples are a great source of dietary fiber. In fact, they have more fiber than any other commonly consumed fruit.
This is because apples are often eaten with the skin on (unpeeled), which adds extra fiber to your meal. The exact amount can vary depending on the apple variety and its size.
One medium-sized apple (100 grams) provides 4 grams of fiber, or 17% of the DV.
Apples contain both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, specifically called pectin. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, and has been shown to help prevent digestive issues by feeding your friendly gut bacteria (7, 8).
Fiber also helps you stay satiated and fuller for longer, which can help with weight loss, while also lowering blood sugar levels and boosting your digestive health (9).
Apples are primarily composed of carbohydrates and water. They also include fiber, which lowers blood sugar levels and promotes digestive health.
Vitamins and Minerals in Apples
Apples contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals, but are an especially good source of vitamin C and potassium.
- Vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin is a potent antioxidant, most commonly found in fruits. It’s an essential nutrient that has many important functions in your body, including boosting your immune system and helping your body build collagen (10, 11, 12).
- Potassium. This mineral is essential for proper cell function. potassium also plays an active role in fluid balance and muscle contraction, so it’s especially helpful for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
Apples are high in vitamin C and potassium. They may also contain some other vitamins and minerals, but the amounts are generally low.
Antioxidants in Apples
Apples are high in several antioxidants, which are molecules that prevent free radical damage to cells. Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive molecules that can damage proteins, fats, and DNA. These include (1, 13):
- Quercetin. A flavonoid found in many plant foods, quercetin may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, and antidepressant effects, according to animal studies (14, 15).
- Catechin. Also present in high amounts in green tea, catechin has been shown to possess anticancer, anti-obesity, antidiabetic, anticardiovascular, anti-infectious, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective effects in humans (16).
- Chlorogenic acid. Also found in coffee, chlorogenic acid may help lower blood sugar and aid in weight loss, according to some animal studies (17, 18).
Apples are high in antioxidants, including quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid, which are all found in abundance. Many of apples’ advantages are due to plant chemicals like these.
Apples and Weight Loss
Apples can be especially helpful for weight loss. They are high in fiber, low in calories (about 95 calories per 100 grams), and relatively filling.
All of these factors can help keep you feeling satisfied longer, which is key to avoiding the impulse to reach for unhealthy snacks (19).
One 12-week study, had women eat 1.5 large apples (300 grams) every day. Over the course of the study, participants lost 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) (20).
For this reason, apples may be a good addition to a weight loss diet, especially if eaten as snacks or before meals.
Apples may aid in the success of a healthy weight-reduction plan due to their high fiber and low calorie content.
Health Benefits of Apples
Given the enormous popularity of apples, it’s no wonder they’ve been so extensively researched.
Blood Sugar Control and Type 2 Diabetes
Some research suggests that consuming apples may help to reduce blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. (20).
Soluble fiber, phloridzin, and other polyphenols in apples may also slow your digestion and absorption of sugars (21).
This study of 38,018 women found that eating 1 or more apples each day was linked to a 28% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (22).
Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Disease
Several studies have looked at apples’ possible protective effects on heart disease.
This animal study found that apples can reduce total cholesterol levels and plaque buildup in arteries (23).
But what about in humans?
A study of Finnish people published in the British Medical Journal found that those who ate more than 1.9 ounces (54 grams) of apples per day had a lower risk of heart disease. Specifically, the risk of dying from heart disease was 43% lower in women and 19% in men (24).
Many in vitro and animal studies suggest that the phytonutrients in apples can protect against cancers of the lungs and colon (25, 26).
In fact, one study found those who ate one or more apples every day had a 20% decreased risk of developing colorectal cancer, and an 18% lower risk of breast cancer (27).
Studies suggest that apples may help protect against diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Video: Why Apples are Truly a Nutrition Powerhouse
Potential Downsides of Eating Apples
Most people digest apples well.
However, those with IBS might want to avoid apples or talk to their doctor (28). Apples contain FODMAPs, short-chain carbohydrates that can cause symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Apples also contain the simple sugar fructose. This can be problematic for people with fructose intolerance or malabsorption.
Apples are healthy for most people, but those with specific digestive conditions may want to talk to their doctor before adding them to their diet
The Benefits of Apples FAQ
How many apples should I eat a day for weight loss?
While there is no one “right” answer to this question, eating 1.5 large apples per day (300 grams) has been shown to help with weight loss in a 12-week study.
Can apples help me control my blood sugar levels?
Some research suggests that apples may help reduce blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance and diabetes.
What are some of the health benefits of eating apples?
Apples are high in antioxidants, including quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid, which may help protect against cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The Benefits of Apples Conclusion
Apples are a healthy fruit that provides many health benefits. They are high in antioxidants, soluble fiber, and phytonutrients, which may help protect against cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, apples are low in calories and easy to digest. Although some people with digestive conditions like IBS should avoid them, for most people apples are a healthy addition to their diet.
What is your favorite kind of apple?
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