There is nothing I love more than biting into a crisp, slightly tart-slightly sweet apple on a fall afternoon. This is my go to afternoon snack through the months of September, October, and November. And with good reason – apples pack a wallop of a nutritional punch with a ton of disease-fighting potential.
A typical medium sized apple contains powerful flavonoid antioxidants, which help repair cell damage as it occurs during normal cell activity. These compounds may also play a role in lowering your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Apples are great for snacking because they are full of soluble fiber (approximately 4 grams in one medium apple), which is the kind of fiber that helps keep you feeling fuller, longer. They are also a good source of Vitamin C (at least 10% of the daily value) and contain potassium, iron, and calcium as well.
4 Surprising Health Benefits of Apples
Here are some additional ways that this nutritious, fiber-filled, disease-fighting fruit can further support your long-term health:
1. Apples are a natural mouth freshener. Chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva, which lowers the level of bacteria in your mouth. Thus, reducing the risk for tooth decay.
2. Apples can reduce cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber found in apples attracts water to form a gel that can bind with cholesterol in the intestine, which interferes with its absorption. Thus, enabling it to be removed from the body in feces. This translates to lower cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol also known as the “bad” kind, for you!
3. Apples can help improve diarrhea and constipation. The fiber found in apples can either remove water from your colon, which keeps things moving along when you’re backed up. Alternatively, it can absorb excess water from stool, which serves to slow your bowels down. Either way, apples are a good resource to reach for when your system runs awry.
4. Apples contain powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants – including quercitin and triterpenoids, among other flavonoids. The dietary fiber in apples can also help to lower cancer risk. Specifically, pectin fiber can be used by the bacteria in the GI tract to help keep your colon healthy.
The majority of the flavor and aroma of an apple comes from fragrant cells that reside within the skin of the apple. So, you will get a much richer flavor profile by eating the skin and flesh of an apple together. Additionally, the bulk of the vitamins, disease-fighting phytonutrients, fiber and all of the folate in an apple are found in the skin. As such, be sure to eat the whole apple – skin and all – to get the maximum flavor and nutrition!