Benefits Of Apples: These crunchy fruits have potent anti-aging effects. They may prevent age-related memory loss, skin troubles, and hair fall. Eating them in the right amounts may also reduce the risk of cancers.
1. May Protect Your Heart
Benefits Of Apples, A few studies relate high flavonoid intake to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases of about 35%, particularly in women. Finnish research shows a similar relation between thrombotic strokei and apple consumption.
In older men and nearly 35,000 women, apples and wine (and not juice) prevented coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and death. According to animal studies, the active ingredients in the peel and fruit have a cholesterol-lowering effect.
They protect the heart and blood vessels from free radical damage that triggers most of the cardiovascular diseases. However, a significant chunk of evidence indicates mixed results of apple intake and heart health. Some researchers claim the data to be statistically insignificant.
2. May Maintain Brain Health
Benefits Of Apples, Apple polyphenols may protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and age-related memory loss. Lab studies at Cornell University propose quercetin and phenolic acids to be primarily involved in this property.
Apple juice concentrate rectifies folate deficiency that could cause age-related neurodegeneration. It reduces the accumulation of proteins (like amyloid-beta) that trigger Alzheimer’s disease and improves brain function.
It also eliminates free radicals, thereby slowing down cognitive decline. The extract maintains the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is low in deficient and aged subjects.
3. May Reduce Acne And Treat Aging Skin
Benefits Of Apples, Flavonoids like phlorizin, apigenin, silymarin, and genistein naturally occur in fruits like apple, cherry, and pear. Phlorizin has been extensively studied for its anti-aging effects on the skin.
Apigenin, genistein, and other polyphenols protect your skin from the sun and the UV ray-induced inflammation and dark/white spots. They also control the secretion of sebum and hence can help in managing acne vulgarisi .
One cup of raw apple slices (with skin) has about 5 mg of vitamin C. This vitamin rejuvenates your skin with its antioxidant effects and may improve skin health. Therefore, topical and oral use of vitamin C-rich apples hydrates your skin and may prevent skin cancers.
4. May Aid Weight Loss
Benefits Of Apples, A cup of apple slices (with skin) has 2.6 g of dietary fiber. Fiber slows down digestion, inducing a sense of satiety (fullness). According to studies, having more fiber-rich foods like apples is associated with the least amount of weight gain over time.
Moreover, the glycemic index of raw apple and apple juice is about 36 (±2) and 41 (±2), respectively. Both these foods produce fewer and smaller spikes in blood sugar levels. This may lessen hunger pangs and prevent overeating. Thus, your weight gain would be in check.
But how long should one consume apples to reduce body fat is still not clear.
5. May Regulate Diabetes
Benefits Of Apples, An epidemiological study of about 38,000 women spanning over 9 years showed a positive relation between apple intake and type 2 diabetes. Those who ate 1-2 apples a day had 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate none.
The apple flavonoids could be responsible for this, given their antioxidant effects. These active ingredients protect the cells in the pancreas from damage.
Despite having 15% carbohydrates, apples have a relatively low glycemic index. You may add them to a diabetic-friendly diet. However, consult your doctor as they would know what’s best for you.
6. May Promote Digestion and Gut Health
Benefits Of Apples, Apples are rich in polyphenols, carbohydrates, and fiber. A major proportion of the polyphenols and fiber directly reach the colon. They are fermented by the good gut bacteria that survive on the derived energy.
The insoluble fiber of apples, especially the pectin and hemicellulose, are converted to short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs, in turn, promote the growth of intestinal microbes. They also maintain the ratio between the two important classes of gut bacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes.
The fiber doubles up as a bulking agent. It holds/retains water to cleanse and rectify the bowel movement.
7. Have Anti-inflammatory Properties
Benefits Of Apples, Chronic inflammation is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel disease (IBD), Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s disease, etc. You can control the severity of such inflammatory diseases by adding apples to your diet.
Raw, unpeeled apples contain polyphenols that inhibit the production of pro-inflammatoryi compounds. Apple juice may possess flavonoid derivatives like procyanidin and phloretin. These active molecules can bring down the expression of genes responsible for inflammation.
8. May Boost Eye Health And Vision
Benefits Of Apples, Vitamins A and C and quercetin protect your eyes from age-related degeneration and other eye infections. Carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin are vital for color detection in the retina. They are potent antioxidants too. Consuming foods rich in these components is the only way to maintain their levels in the macula of the retina.
Red apples with skin are abundant in almost all of these micronutrients. They have 15 μg/100 g of lutein, 18 μg/100 g of ß-carotene, 54 IU/100 g of vitamin-A, and 4.6 mg/100 g of vitamin-C. Studies have proven the therapeutic effects of having these fruits on eye disorders like cataracts and macular degenerationi in the elderly.
9. May Be Good For Bones And Teeth
Benefits Of Apples, Apples are great sources of minerals. They contain boron, potassium, calcium, and fair amounts of zinc, and these are necessary for bone health.
Pears, apples, prunes, berries, tomatoes, etc. should be a mandatory addition to the diet of post-menopausal women (and older men). The antioxidants in these fruits can prevent/delay osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases.
While sugary apple juice may contribute to tooth decay, fresh apples are less likely to cause such problems. These fibrous fruits increase salivation and neutralize the acidic environment in your mouth. Chewing on them also lessens cavities.
10. May Promote Hair Growth
Benefits Of Apples, Annurca apple, native to Southern Italy, contains a polyphenol called Procyanidin B2 in abundance. Procyanidin B2 has been studied extensively for its effect on hair growth. It is said to stimulate the proliferation of hair follicles and keratin production.
Healthy subjects were given a fixed oral dose of Annurca apple extract in a study. After two months, they showed increased hair growth, hair number, hair weight, and keratin content.
Apple cider vinegar is widely used in hair care products to prevent hair fall and dandruff. However, there isn’t enough research supporting this property.
11. May Reduce Cancer Risk
Benefits Of Apples, Clinical trials suggest that consuming apples reduce the risk of cancer. High consumption of apples may reduce the risk of lung, colorectal, and GI tract cancers. Some animal studies demonstrate the anti-cancer effect of this fruit on breast cancer cells.
Apple flavonoids have the second highest level of antioxidant power among all fruits. Their peels have a stronger antioxidant capacity than the flesh and may help in cancer prevention.
These antioxidants scavenge free radicals that damage healthy cells and DNA. They also stop the production of these reactive/toxic substances. That is why the tumor incidence in the subjects was reduced by 17% when they had one apple a day for over 24 weeks.
In addition, the antioxidants in apples may also help improve immune system function.