✓ Evidence Based

Apple: Facts, Nutrition, Benefits, and More

There’s a popular saying, “One apple a day keeps the doctor away,” meaning, eating apples keeps you healthy.

Apples are full of important nutrients that are beneficial to overall health. Due to their high nutrient content, consuming apples may help prevent unwanted health issues.

Apples are the most widely eaten fruit in the world and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Let’s explore the facts, nutrition, benefits, and more on apples.

History & Facts

Cultivated apples are thought to have originated in Malus sieversii in Kazakhstan, located in Central Asia. They come from apple trees, also called Malus Domestica, and have been grown for centuries in Asia and Europe, and were eventually brought over to North America in the 1600s (1, 2). 

With over 7,000 cultivars grown across the world, apples are one of the most popular and widely consumed fruits globally (3). There are several varieties of apples to choose from, each type offering a different flavor profile. These include Pink Lady, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny smith, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, and Red Delicious apples, to name a few (4).

Apples are considered pome fruits, along with pears, and come from the Rosaceae family. Pome fruits are produced by flowering plants and can be characterized by having several small seeds in the center, which are surrounded by edible layers of fruit flesh (5).

Nutrition Facts

Apples contain a notable amount of nutrients that are vital for health. Let’s take a look at the nutrient composition that an average apple contains.


One medium apple (around 200 grams) contains the following nutrients (6):

  • Calories: 104 kcal
  • Protein: 0.52 g
  • Fat: 0.34 g
  • Carbs: 27.6 g
  • Fiber: 4.8 g

Vitamins & Minerals

Apples are loaded with important vitamins and minerals. Below are the noteworthy nutrients that a medium apple contains (6).

  • Calcium (Ca): 12 mg
  • Magnesium (Mg): 10 mg
  • Phosphorus (P): 22 mg
  • Potassium (K): 214 mg
  • Sodium (Na): 2 mg
  • Iron (Fe): 0.24 mg
  • Vitamin C: 9.2 mg
  • Folate: 6 µg
  • Carotene, beta: 54 µg
  • Lutein + zeaxanthin: 58 µg
  • Vitamin K: 4.4 µg
  • Vitamin A: 6 µg

Fiber is an important nutrient that helps regulate blood glucose levels, prevent constipation, and promote regular bowel movements. Fiber is also beneficial for reducing the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. A medium apple contains around 4.8 g of fiber, which account for about 17% of the DV (7, 8).

Another noteworthy nutrient found in apples is vitamin C, which is essential for promoting immune health, reducing the risk of infections, healing wounds, and producing collagen. Additionally, vitamin C is an antioxidant and plays a major role in combating free radicals and oxidative stress. An average apple contains roughly 9.2 mg of vitamin C, accounting for 12% of the DV for adult women and 10% of the DV for adult men (9).

One medium apple contains around 214 mg of potassium, an important nutrient that helps support heart and electrolyte function. Potassium is also vital for helping to maintain fluid and blood volume. Consuming a medium apple provides roughly 6%-8% of the DV for potassium in adults (10). 

Benefits of Apples

Apples are an incredibly nourishing fruit that offers numerous health benefits. Because of their nutrition profile, consuming apples is associated with lowered risk of developing chronic diseases and other health issues. Let’s take a look at a few notable health benefits that apples provide.

Apples May Decrease the Risk of Developing Cancer

Apples are high in antioxidants, which are beneficial in warding off free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals are the result of unstable electrons caused by a number of factors including environmental toxins, air pollution, smoking, chemicals, and normal metabolic processes that happen in the body. Free radicals damage DNA, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, resulting in oxidative stress and an increased risk of developing unwanted health conditions, such as cancer (11, 12).

Not only do apples contain vitamin C, but they also have other antioxidants that are beneficial in protecting the body against cancer cell proliferation. In fact, apples have the second highest level of antioxidant activity among all other fruits and contain an adequate amount of phytochemicals. These antioxidants include quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid. One study showed that eating an apple a day reduced the risk of colorectal cancer significantly (11, 13).

Apples May Protect Against Heart Disease

Studies suggest that the consumption of apples may have protective factors against cardiovascular disease. Whole apple intake was associated with reduced risk of CVD mortality in 8 randomized trials. In addition, there was a reduced risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke mortality. The study also goes on to say that whole apple consumption lowered total cholesterol, CRP, blood pressure, and plasma inflammatory cytokines, while increasing HDL and improving endothelial function (14, 15). 

Apples are rich in polyphenols, which could contribute to decreased risk of CVD. Apple peels are a significant source of phenolics, which may be associated with a reduced risk of CVD. Along with polyphenols, apples are also a great source of fiber, an important carbohydrate that helps protect against the development of CVD, as well as other chronic health conditions. Fiber is also a key player in gut health and is vital in cell function, the immune system, and lipid metabolism, all factors that affect the risk of developing CVD (16, 17). 

Apples May be Beneficial for Weight Loss

Due to their high level of polyphenols and fiber, apples may contribute to losing weight. Several studies show an association between apple consumption and weight loss in both animal and human experiments. Polyphenol compounds are associated with anti-obesity effects that are shown to alter signal transduction in fat tissue (18).

Apples are also high in fiber which is associated with lower body weight. Consuming fiber creates satiety and fullness, resulting from slower gastric emptying. The feeling of fullness results from reduced appetite and energy intake, which may contribute to weight loss (19, 20, 21).

One study compared apples and pears to oat cookie intake in women and showed a decrease in body weight, as well as energy intake, after 10 weeks. There was no change in weight loss in the oat group which suggested that fruit intake may contribute to decreased energy intake and increased weight change over time (22).

Potential Risks

Too much of any particular food can be a negative thing. That even applies to healthy foods like apples. While apples are nutrient-dense and beneficial for health, there are some potential risks to be aware of.

Eating Too Many Apples May Cause Gastrointestinal Issues

Due to their adequate fiber content, consuming too many apples may contribute to gastrointestinal issues like bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation. It is important to adhere to the recommended intake of apples per day and talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any issues from apple consumption (23).

Drug Interactions

  • Fexofenadine (Allegra): Apple juice has been shown to inhibit the absorption of Fexofenadine when consumed at the same time (24).
  • Atenolol (Tenormin): Consuming apple juice and Atenolol together has been shown to decrease the absorption of the drug (24)
  • Montelukast (an anti-asthma agent): Decreased absorption of anti-asthma agents has been shown with apple juice consumption (24).
  • Aliskiren (Tekturna, Rasilez): Consuming apple juice and Aliskiren has been shown to decrease systematic exposure to Aliskiren (24).

Way to Eat Apples

Apples are versatile in how they can be consumed and are most commonly enjoyed as a whole food. There are many delicious foods apples can be paired with and can also be used in baking.

  • Raw apples: Whole apples make a great snack. The most common way to eat an apple is in its raw form with the peel. However, many people prefer consuming just the apple flesh as their own preference. Raw apples can also be used in smoothies and juicing. Additionally, apples are widely versatile in salad additions and can also be paired with many other foods.
  • Food pairing with apples: Common foods apples are eaten with include peanut butter, many types of cheeses, prosciutto, nuts, caramel, fruits, and cinnamon.
  • Baking: Apples are a popular ingredient when it comes to baking. This fruit is versatile in baking cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, and cobblers.
  • Cooked: Sautéing apples is another popular way to eat them. They are typically sauteed in butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar and are a great side addition or sweet treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Apple Seeds Toxic?

Yes and no. It is true that apple seeds contain a small amount of hydrogen cyanide. When chewed, the amygdalin from the seeds releases cyanide into the bloodstream. However, a person would need to consume a lot of apple seeds to see negative effects, more than 40 apple cores for it to be fatal (25).

Is it Beneficial to Eat the Apple Peel?

Yes. Apple peels are high in phenolics, which have been shown to help protect against cancer and inflammation due to their antioxidant compounds. In fact, studies show that apple peels contain higher amounts of phenolic and flavonoid contents than apple flesh (26, 27). 

When are Apples in Season?

You can typically find apples all year round at your grocery store. Depending on the variety of apples, they are generally in season from late summer to fall.


Apples are one of the most commonly consumed fruits worldwide and can be in raw form or used in baking. Apples are cultivated across the world and come in a variety of types which include Pink Lady, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny smith, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Red Delicious apples, and many others, varying by size, color, and taste.

One medium apple offers a viable amount of vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamin C, dietary fiber, and potassium. These nutrients play an important role in decreasing the risk of developing certain health conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, apples contain antioxidants that combat free radicals and oxidative stress. Not only are apples associated with decreased risk of CVD and cancer, but they may also be beneficial for weight loss.

While apples are extremely healthy and nutrient-dense, eating too many may result in gastrointestinal issues. Apples may cause absorption issues with certain medications and it is best to speak to your doctor if you have questions regarding apple consumption and medication interaction.