10 Surprising Benefits of Apples
Are you an apple lover? There are lots of reasons to love apples, from their versatility in cooking to their natural sweetness. Apples even have some surprising health benefits that you may not know about! Learn how apples can make your life better with this list of 10 surprising benefits of apples.
1) They keep your heart healthy
According to a study published in PLOS Medicine, eating apples may lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Researchers noted that just two servings of apples per week may reduce blood pressure, reducing your odds for coronary artery disease. They also contain pectin and quercetin, which help reduce LDL cholesterol levels (LDL is referred to as bad cholesterol). So grab an apple or two at snack time! Eat them whole or blend them into a refreshing smoothie – both are good choices.
2) Help you lose weight
Research suggests that an apple a day may help keep weight away. In one study, people who ate at least one apple per day were 26 percent less likely to gain weight over time than non-apple eaters. The results seem to stem from apple’s fiber content and water content, both of which may help keep you full longer between meals. People who ate apples also had higher overall diet quality scores, on average, compared with those who didn’t eat apples regularly. Another reason: They tend to be low in calories (an average of about 100 for a medium-sized fruit). Consuming fewer calories can reduce your chances of gaining weight over time.
3) Build up your immune system
Apples are a low-calorie, high-fiber fruit that can help prevent type 2 diabetes and reduce cholesterol. They also contain antioxidants like quercetin, which has been linked to reducing asthma attacks in people who suffer from allergic symptoms. You can eat them raw or baked into pies, cakes and muffins, or chop them up and add them to recipes like chicken salad for a bit of sweetness. This fall favorite is definitely worth adding to your grocery list!
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4) Keep you hydrated
Bananas and apples both contain a lot of water, which helps you stay hydrated. Because they’re also low in calories, these fruits can be eaten freely during an exercise program, or even as part of your meal to meet your daily recommended intake. Bananas are also easy to eat on-the-go. Plus, their high potassium content helps reduce soreness and cramping after strenuous activity and improves muscle function by helping to maintain fluid balance in cells—all benefits that will help keep you hydrated as well.
5) Relieve constipation
The pectin in apples is a dietary fiber that can help prevent constipation. One medium apple contains about three grams of pectin, which can help to regulate bowel movements by drawing water into your gut. The pectin and water help to soften your stool and make it easier to pass. It’s safe for pregnant women and children, too!
6) Aid in digestion
According to research by Dr. Susan Fried, M.D., founder and director of The Center for Healthcare Studies at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City, eating a raw apple can aid digestion in a couple ways. First, chewing releases an enzyme that begins to break down your food as soon as it hits your mouth. Second, pectin is a soluble fiber found in apples (and many other fruits) that moves through your digestive tract at roughly one-tenth to one-fifth its original speed when it’s consumed with little or no fat present. It’s been shown to help prevent constipation and reduce blood cholesterol levels. Not bad for something you probably eat daily!
7) Prevent cancer
Although they aren’t as effective as many other fruits and vegetables at fighting cancer, apples can still help prevent cancer. Studies have shown that apples contain antioxidants that can stop free radicals from being released into your body—chemicals that may contribute to certain types of cancer, including skin and lung cancer. You should definitely include apples in your diet if you want to keep your risk for these cancers low. It also helps to consume a healthy amount of antioxidants each day, which is easily accomplished by including antioxidant-rich foods like apples in your diet on a regular basis.
8) Reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease
Eating apples is linked to a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease, in part because apples are packed with antioxidants. The results showed that every additional daily apple consumed was associated with a 6% reduction in coronary heart disease risk. Similar associations were observed for stroke. In fact, those who ate three or more apples per week had a 32% lower risk of stroke than those who did not eat apples at all. Consuming three or more servings each week has also been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol.
9) Prevent macular degeneration
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that eating an apple a day can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss. Keep in mind that there are other fruits you can use to protect your eyesight like blueberries and strawberries, but apples are a particularly good choice because they’re low in sugar. Another benefit? A 2012 study found that consuming apples may help reduce belly fat — possibly because they suppress hunger signals — and reduce insulin resistance.
10) Fight allergies
Apple cider vinegar helps thin mucus so it can drain more easily, which makes breathing easier and reduces inflammation in your nose. The pectin fiber found in apples is also a natural expectorant, which means it loosens phlegm and makes you cough so you can expel mucus from your body. The antioxidants in apples can also help relieve allergy symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, and hives by stopping free radicals from attacking healthy cells. And since apples are rich in potassium, an electrolyte that may help reduce fluid retention and bloating (both common allergy triggers), they could also offer some relief to people with seasonal allergies.