To answer this question, researchers from the Australian CSIRO have been reviewing the growing body of research that applies to health benefits of apples and the role they play in human health. In this post I summarise the key findings for you.
Apples are highly nutritious and a great source of fiber.
The peel of an apple has very high concentrations of anti-oxidants, with higher levels of antioxidant capacity generally found in darker, redder coloured apples. So do not peel your apples.
Another point of interest – According to principal component analysis, the lighter the colour of an apple’s flesh, the more nutritious it is.
Storage of Apples
Keep your apples in the fridge instead of the fruit bowl in order to retain their antioxidants and have them stay crisp for longer.
Specific Health Benefits of Apples
There is ever increasing evidence of the role of fruits and vegetables (specifically including apples) on protecting you from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.
Apples have been shown to have a cholesterol lowering effect. In one study the researchers found that eating three apples resulted in the reduction of the cholesterol level of about 5-8%.
Incidentally, the consumption of apple juice showed no such effect. So skip the juice and get the real thing – you know, an apple a day…
Consuming whole fruits has been shown to produce a more positive effect on satiety than the same energy from juice or puree.
In fact, a study found that the energy level from fruits, independent of the firbe amount may reduce energy consumption and body weight over time.
Research further suggests that the polyphenols found in apples may regulate the fat metabolism in healthy people with relatively high body mass index (BMI).
Type 2 Diabetes
A large study of nearly 38,000 women over nine years found that women who were consuming one apple a day had a 28% reduction in their risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to women who consumed no apples.
Apples also have a low GI (Glycaemic Index), in the range of 28-44, which may be a contributing factor to the prevention of diabetes.
You guessed it – apples have been linked to reducing the incidence of atopic dermatitis. The health benefits of apples include that they may alleviate some of the symptoms of respiratory allergy such as sneezing.
Your good apples have been reported to be associated with lower incidence of asthma and bronchial hyperactivity.
In fact, a related study found that pregnant women who consume apples (and fish) may provide their unborn babies protection against developing childhood asthma and allergic diseases.
Health Benefits of Apples for Cancer
While the evidence for the role of fruit and vegetables in generally reducing cancer risk is not as strong as it once appeared, this does not rule out the significant potential for specific fruits and vegetables.
Laboratory cell-based studies have shown that apple peel extract possesses strong anti-proliferative effects against cancer cells. So, make sure you do not peel your apples.
There is particularly strong evidence for the consumption of apples in preventing mouth, oesophagus, lung and stomach cancers.
So in conclusion, an apple a day will not just keep your doctor away, but also a multitude of specialists, surgeons, drug companies and intensive care units. Please do yourself a favour and consider having an apple today, and every day following – because the health benefits of apples are too great to ignore.