Apples are the most widely consumed fruit worldwide and contain several viable nutrients that help prevent unwanted health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and many more. This fruit is extremely nourishing, offering adequate amounts of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium in just one medium apple.
Apples come from the Rosaceae family and are considered Pome fruits, which are characterized by containing several small seeds at the core of the fruit. They are thought to have originated in Kazakhstan and were eventually brought to North America during the 1600s (1, 2, 3).
There are a variety of apples that are cultivated across the world, each type differing in color, size, texture, and taste. Pink Lady, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny smith, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, and Red Delicious apples are all examples of the many different types of apples to choose from (4).
Apples are most commonly enjoyed in their whole, raw form but they are also popular in baked goods, smoothies, and juices. They make a great snack and pair well with other foods such as cheddar cheese, nuts, and peanut butter. This nourishing fruit is easy to incorporate into any diet and offers many health benefits that are good for overall nutritional status.
Table of Contents
- Apple Health Benefits
- 1. Apples May Contain Cancer Fighting-Properties
- 2. Apples May Be Beneficial for Heart Health
- 3. Apples May Help Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
- 4. Apples May Support Weight Loss
- 5. Apples May be Beneficial for Gut Health
- 6. Eating Apples May Help Combat Asthma
- 7. Apples are Nutrient-Dense
- 8. Apples May Promote Brain Health
Apple Health Benefits
There’s a reason why people say, “One apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Let’s take a look at the numerous health benefits apples have to offer.
1. Apples May Contain Cancer Fighting-Properties
Studies suggest apples may have cancer-fighting properties due to their phytochemical profile. Apples are also rich in antioxidants which include quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid, all of which help ward off free radicals (unstable molecules that damage DNA, proteins, and lipids) and protect the body against inflammation (5, 6).
Numerous studies have linked lower cancer risk with apple consumption. One study showed a 21% decreased risk of lung cancer in women who consumed at least one serving a day of apples and pears. However, the men’s group showed no association between apple intake and reduced risk for lung cancer (6).
One study examined various types of apple peels and indicated their effectiveness at inhibiting cell growth in liver cancer cells, largely due to the antioxidant properties present in the peels (7).
Summary: Apples are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. These properties may be beneficial in reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancers.
2. Apples May Be Beneficial for Heart Health
Polyphenols have been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Several studies suggest apples may decrease the risk of developing heart disease and are also strongly associated with a decreased risk of ischemic heart disease mortality, thrombotic stroke, and total mortality. Additionally, another study showed a positive association between apple intake and total cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease (8, 9).
Fiber is an important nutrient that is beneficial for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. One medium apple contains around 4.8 g of dietary fiber. Studies show that consuming a diet rich in fiber may significantly decrease the risk of developing heart disease, as well as mortality incidence. Dietary fiber has been shown to reduce total serum and LDL cholesterol. Those who consume a high-fiber diet may reduce their risk of developing heart disease and stroke by up to 24% (10).
Summary: Apples are a great source of dietary fiber which may be beneficial for reducing the risk of heart disease. Apples also contain anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that are beneficial for heart health.
3. Apples May Help Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
Studies show eating apples may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Apples contain many beneficial nutrients and also have an adequate amount of fiber. Consuming apples may help stabilize blood glucose levels, as well as help reduce HbA1c, due to their dietary fiber (11).
In addition to fiber, apples also contain quercetin, a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-fibrotic properties. These properties may be beneficial in helping with insulin resistance, which is one of the key factors in the onset of diabetes (12).
Summary: Apples may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes due to their fiber and flavonoid content. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties found within flavonoids may be responsible in helping with insulin resistant.
4. Apples May Support Weight Loss
Research suggests an association between apple consumption and weight loss. Apples contain polyphenols which have been shown to likely have anti-obesity effects (13).
In RCTs, BMI was significantly decreased with apple consumption, however, there was no change in body weight. Another study involving 133,468 participants found a link between increased apple intake and reduced body weight (14).
In addition to polyphenols, apples also contain dietary fiber, which may help with satiety and controlling hunger (15).
Apples contain nutrients like fiber and polyphenols that may be beneficial for weight loss. Some studies suggest a positive association between apple consumption and reduced BMI, as well as body weight.
Summary: Apples contain nutrients like fiber and polyphenols that may be beneficial for weight loss. Studies suggest a positive association between apple consumption and reduced BMI, as well as decreased body weight.
5. Apples May be Beneficial for Gut Health
Apples contain pectin, a major soluble fiber that positively influences transit time, gastric emptying, and nutrient absorption. Pectin is able to be fermented by the gut microbiota, feeding the good bacteria of the gut (16).
Polyphenols are also an important factor in gut health. Polyphenols are able to influence gut microbiota composition, as well as inhibit certain bacteria in the gut that may be harmful (16).
Due to apples’ high content of soluble fiber, specifically pectin, and polyphenols, consuming apples may be beneficial influencing gut health.
Summary: Due to apples’ high content of soluble fiber, specifically pectin, and polyphenols, consuming apples may be beneficial for positively influencing gut health.
6. Eating Apples May Help Combat Asthma
Research suggests that apple intake may help fight asthma. Apples contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which have been linked to beneficial outcomes of developing asthma, as well as other chronic diseases. Because asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways, consuming apples may have a positive effect due to their anti-inflammatory content (17, 18).
Antioxidants found in apples include quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid, all of which may be key factors in helping reduce asthma effects (6).
More research is needed to determine how apples and their properties influence factors pertaining to inflammation and fighting asthma.
Apples contain anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for combating asthma. Additionally, apples’ antioxidant content may contribute to positive outcomes in helping asthma, however, more human research is needed to make any comprehensive conclusion.
Summary: Apples contain anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for combating asthma. Additionally, apples’ antioxidant content may contribute to positive outcomes in helping asthma, however, more human research is needed to make any comprehensive conclusion.
7. Apples are Nutrient-Dense
Not only do apples contain an adequate amount of dietary fiber and antioxidants, but they also have other key nutrients important for health. Apples are also nutrient-dense and low in fat, and high in other vitamins and minerals, making them an overall nourishing fruit.
One medium apple provides around 104 calories and 27g of carbohydrates. In addition, they have other nutrients like vitamin C and potassium, both important for promoting a positive health status (19).
- Calories: 104 kcal
- Protein: 0.52 g
- Fat: 0.34 g
- Carbs: 27.6 g
- Fiber: 4.8 g
- Potassium (K): 214 mg
- Vitamin C: 9.2 mg
- Calcium (Ca): 12 mg
- Magnesium (Mg): 10 mg
- Phosphorus (P): 22 mg
- Sodium (Na): 2 mg
- Iron (Fe): 0.24 mg
- Folate: 6 µg
- Carotene, beta: 54 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin: 58 µg
- Vitamin K: 4.4 µg
- Vitamin A: 6 µg
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and antioxidant that helps promote collagen production, immune health, wound healing, and infection reduction. Its antioxidant effects aid in eliminating free radicals caused by a number of factors, which include environmental toxins, cigarette smoke, and pollution (20, 21).
Potassium is another key nutrient found in apples. Potassium is important for heart and electrolyte function, as well as maintaining fluid balance and blood volume. Additionally, potassium has been shown to help lower blood pressure (22, 23).
Summary: Apples are an extremely nourishing and nutrient-dense fruit. They contain a viable amount of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium.
8. Apples May Promote Brain Health
Research shows an association between fruit intake and improved outcomes pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive function (5).
Animal studies suggest that quercetin and 3,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid were beneficial in increasing neural precursor cell proliferation and neurogenesis, which is helpful in forming new neurons in the brain (24).
Summary: Apples contain specific properties that may help with brain and cognitive function, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. This may be due to apples’ quercetin and 3,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid content, however, more human research is needed.
Apples are the most widely eaten fruit worldwide. They contain an abundance of important nutrients that may be beneficial for reducing the risk of developing certain chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Apples are cultivated around the world and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and flavors.
Due to their adequate content of fiber and antioxidants, apple consumption has been associated with positive health outcomes. Apples may promote heart health by decreasing the risk of developing heart disease and lower blood pressure. Apples may also help reduce cancer risk due to their phytochemical profile. Additionally, apples may help decrease the risk of developing diabetes.
Apples may help promote other health benefits which include supporting weight loss, gut health, asthma, and brain health. Other key nutrients apples contain are vitamin C and potassium, both of which are important for overall nutrition status.