An apple a day will keep the doctor away. It’s a saying we all know, but how true is it? Are apples really this miracle fruit that boosts our immune system and keep us healthy? We’ll look at the nutrition apples actually provide and what health benefits these fruits deliver.
Nutrition Apples Provide
Looking at a medium apple (182g serving size) it doesn’t appear that there is a lot of nutrients in apples. In fact, 86% (156g) of the apple is water. The remaining portion of this fruit is mostly carbohydrates. A medium apple has 25g of carbs, 19g of which are sugars. Apples are packed with simple sugars, such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose. Apples do have high levels of fibre at 4.4g. Fibre is great for your diet and helps your body regularly flush toxins from the body. Most of this fibre is found in the apple peel so you lose that benefit with peeled apples or apple juice.
Apples contain about 14% of your daily value of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system and helps protect the body from many diseases.
Apples also have some potassium, which is an important mineral for your cellular and electrical function. These levels are fairly low though, with only 6% of your daily value.
Apples also have low values in vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K and a hand full of minerals.
Antioxidant Nutrition Apples Provide
There are a few other things in apples that don’t make it onto the nutrition facts. In addition to vitamin C, apples contain several other important antioxidants.
Quercetin is one of these important antioxidants. Quercetin reduces inflammation, which is important because inflammation is a leading cause of many deadly diseases. This important antioxidant is also a major cancer fighter. It attacks carcinogens and has been shown to help prevent many types of cancer. Furthermore, the flavonoids in apples have shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Catechin is another important antioxidant found in apples. Catechin supports brain function and can help reduce brain injury. It is also a good energy boost and helps fight fatigue.
Chlorogenic Acid is found in apples and has been shown to lower blood sugars and help with weight loss. This is important for anyone at risk of type 2 diabetes and is generally helpful considering the high levels of sugar in apples. This could be the reason why apples have a fairly low score on the glycemic index. This is the index that shows the effect a food has on the elevation of blood glucose levels. A medium apple scores a 5 on the index. You should aim to have a score of less than 100 per day. Eating low glycemic index foods has shown to have many health benefits. This low score is also in part to the high fibre in apples, and the polyphenol content. Polyphenols help to slow down carb digestion. This means your blood sugar won’t spike as quickly.
A 2004 nutrition journal by Boyer and Liu found that, “apples were most consistently associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type II diabetes when compared to other fruits and vegetables and other sources of flavonoids.” A further study found these findings to be true, plus linked apples to a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
While the benefits of apples seem to be numerous they have also been shown to be troubling for people with irritable bowels. Apples are also one of the most pesticide-covered fruits, so buy organic to help cut down on these dangerous chemicals.
Overall the saying seems to have merit. Whole apples have many health benefits, and may indeed keep the doctor away.