10 Reasons Apples Are Good for You

by Mira

You all know the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” What you may not know is that there's more to the story than vitamins and minerals.

In fact, apples contain only a moderate amount o vitamin C (10% DV) and trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals. But they contain fiber (12%) and are low in calories (65 calories / 125 grams). So they’re a good fruit to include in your diet if you want to lose weight.

But that’s not all there is to apples. You’d want to include them in your diet even if you’re not interested to lose weight because they are incredibly good for you.

Due to their high content of flavonoids and other phytonutrients, apples may be some of the best cancer-fighting agents out there. They have other health benefits as well.

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Why Are Apples Good for You? Let Me Count the Reasons . . .

1. Apples and Cardiovascular Health
Apples and Cholesterol

You may be surprised by this, but apples also lower your bad / “lousy” cholesterol (LDL) to a significant extent. A study whose results were published in the Journal of Functional Foods in October 2012 showed that an apple eaten daily for only 4 weeks lowered LDL cholesterol by up to 40% in healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It looks huge, but that's what the study says. The effect is ascribed to polyphenols in apples, but other compounds may play a role too. And of course soluble fiber plays a role.

Another study, the results of which were published in 2011, showed that apples lower not only cholesterol, but also two other markers associated with cardiovascular diseases. So if you want to maintain healthy arteries and prevent heart disease, eat an apple a day.

2. Apples and Cancers

Studies have shown that a flavonoid in apples called quercetin reduces the risk of lung cancer. (Here's a Finnish study published in 2002 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that examines that correlation as well as others between intake of quercetin and other flavonoids and the risk of chronic diseases.)

Other preliminary studies have shown that quercertin inhibits the growth of other types of cancer cells as well. See an article on that and other health benefits of quercetin here.

Laboratory and animal studies by the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research have shown that other phytonutrients in apples, procyanidins, reduce the risk of colon cancer and kill cancer cells. See here for the results this research team presented in 2004.

Other compounds in apples, more specifically in apple peels, called triterpenoids, have been shown in a Cornell study of 2007 on laboratory cultures to prevent and fight human liver, colon, and breast cancer cells.

3. Apples and Alzheimer's

An apple a day also keeps Alzheimer’s at bay, according to a study on rat brain cells, the results of which were published in 2004. It’s that quercetin again.

4. Apples and Stroke

Apples and other white fruit and vegetables such as pears, bananas, cauliflower, and cucumbers, have also been connected to a lower risk of stroke, according to a Dutch study concluded in 2011 which followed 20,069 people between the ages of 20 and 65 over a one-year period.

5. Apples and Asthma

Apples may also help prevent asthma or relieve asthma symptoms.

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6. Apples and Digestion

A small, 65-calorie apple has 3 grams of fiber, which is 12 % of the recommended daily intake. Insoluble fiber helps keep you regular (and also prevents colon cancer). Soluble fiber absorbs cholesterol from the digestive tract, preventing it from making its way to the arteries.

7. Apples and Weight Loss

The soluble fiber in the pulp of the apple absorbs water and slows digestion, keeping you full longer, so you're less likely to reach for a snack. The insoluble fiber, on the other hand, present in the skin of the apple, speeds up digestion. Both kinds of fiber are good for you. Oh, and did I mention how low in calories apples are? A small apple has only 65 calories. A large one usually has up to 100.

8. Apples and Cataracts

According to a study by a team of scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health, if you have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 you have a 36% greater risk of developing cataracts than people with a BMI of 23 or under. The results of this study were published in 2002 in The International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. You can see the abstract here. It was a study on a rather large sample, of "87 682 women and 45 549 men aged 45 and older who did not have diagnosed cataract or cancer at baseline."

So eat your apples because that fiber will help you lose weight, and with that you reduce your risk of cataracts.

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9. Apples and Diabetes

The soluble fiber in apples prevents spikes in blood sugar levels and also lowering the average blood sugar, helping you control your diabetes. 

10. Apples and the Immune System

You may be aware that the vitamin C in apples boosts your immune system. But a study from 2010 shows that soluble fiber also impacts your immune system beneficially.

So an apple a day keeps the doctor away, indeed -- the old saying is spot-on.

With more research conducted every day, I expect we'll learn even more about the health benefits of apples.

In fact, here's one more reason why you should eat apples.

11. Apples and High Blood Pressure

Researchers at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Canada have shown that flavonoids in the peel of the apple help reduce high blood pressure by inhibiting an enzyme (ACE) that causes hypertension. The results of the study was published in 2012 in the journal Food Chemistry.

Try Apple and Cheese Pairings for a Snack

Or as Part of Your Breakfast

Apple and Cheese Pairing for a SnackIf you’re not particularly keen on apples, try them with blue cheese. A small apple of 125 grams with 50 grams of 20%-fat Rocquefort cheese actually makes a great snack of under 200 calories. It also works for breakfast.

You can also use apples in fruit salads, which you can enjoy in endless combinations.

Or you can simply bite into them the old-fashioned way.

Here’s to at least an apple a day!

More Info for Apple Lovers from Wizzley Authors

Nothing beats a piece of apple pie made from your own fresh apples. The trees are beautiful to look at as well!
National Apple Pie Day is a food holiday that is celebrated not once, but twice a year for double the pleasure.
A foolproof recipe for a quick, easy and delicious apple cake.

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Updated: 10/18/2020, Mira
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Mira on 11/06/2016

Hi Derdriu :). We don't have a saying about apples other than the translation of the English one (which, by the way, seems to have been a marketing slogan put out there by American producers at the beginning of the twentieth century -- or so I'm reading online), but we (most of us) eat an apple every day -- or so I've come to think. The most popular varieties are Jonathan and Golden Delicious, and cooking-wise, we make apple pie, but it looks different than the American pie: http://savoriurbane.com/prajitura-cu-...

Thank you for appreciating my cooking skills. I would like to have the leisure time to put together a cookbook, knowing it will promote Romanian cooking for the few people who would be interested, but right now I'm stretching myself thin with other projects. But who knows, I may find the time in time to dedicate myself to this project, too.

DerdriuMarriner on 11/05/2016

Mira, Thank you for the nice presentation! In particular, I appreciate the suggestion about pairing apples with blue cheese.
Is there a saying in Romanian on par with the English saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away?" What is the most popular apple variety, and what is the most popular preparation of apples, in Romania?
Once again, may I suggest that you write a cookbook?

Mira on 05/27/2014

"Follow through on healthy cravings" -- good advice. Unfortunately, things like stress mess up many of those signals. I had a bad food day today. :-) Well, I did end the day with a meal accompanied by a good lettuce and green onion salad though :-)

Mira on 05/27/2014

I hope it works for you! By the way, I always tell myself I should eat more apples. I only eat a certain fruit when I have a craving for it but often you can eat apples when you crave sweets, for instance. I keep telling myself to substitute things like that, or eat apples and pears as my father does, (seemingly) all the time.

Mira on 03/10/2014

That goal sounds like something I can see for myself, too! :)

Mira on 03/10/2014

We have 100 apple varieties in Romania, cultivated here that is. As I suspected, the most widely available are Golden Delicious and Jonathan. They're followed by some varieties I don't recognize, called Starkrimson, Idared, Florina, and Golden Parmen. Florina, by the sound of it, should be a Romanian cultivar. But I've also seen other varieties, imported, such as Granny Smith and Cortland.

Mira on 11/03/2013

I have been eating more apples lately, too. Have discovered some great golden ones from a region in Romania famous for its apples. They're such a treat. So sweet! Beats so many other desserts. And yes, I eat them for dessert. You're supposed to eat them half an hour to 45' before the meal, but I am having a really great time eating an apple for dessert -- a very healthy and low-calorie one, too.

ologsinquito on 11/03/2013

We always have organic apples in the fruit bowl, and it's a rare day that we don't have at least one apple in the house. This is the first fruit I buy every week.

Mira on 09/25/2013

In response to your question, I'm thinking it depends on how you make the juice and cider. Supermarket apple juice is pasteurized, for instance. Then there's the issue of concentrating that sugar. That's not that great. But other than this, I expect many health benefits still stand. Then there are the added benefits of fermentation. I haven't read much on those, but they come extra. Hope others will pitch in. It's those enzymes that are produced.

I love apple cider myself and all fruit wine! Your combos sound excellent (with elderberry, blackberry, and blackcurrant).

frankbeswick on 09/24/2013

I have had a really good crop of apples on my allotment, and I am juicing them to make apple wine/cider, in fact it is what I have spent part of the afternoon doing. I have found that apple can be added to the following fruit juices:elderberry, blackberry or blackcurrant. I once had an apple and blackberry wine. It was one of the best wines that I have ever made. The dehydrator that I am buying will give me dried apple, which I really like.

I had not heard that apples have flavenoids, but that's really good, as flavenoids destroy free radicals in the blood stream, and,as these cause damage, I reckon that apples keep you healthy.

However, does anyone know if apple juice, fermented or not, has the same health benefits as eating apples does?

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