Apples are not just crunchy, sweet and satisfying. As part of a smart diet, they can help protect against serious diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Consider them your healthy secret weapon.
You have heard it a zillion times: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” There are more truth to that than you might think. Studies show apples have powerful health benefits, particularly when it comes to fighting chronic diseases. Here’s a short list of how eating more apples can help keep you healthy, along with some apple-licious ways to add them to your meals.
What exactly are the health benefits of apples?
Not only do they come in their own packaging – meaning you can eat the skin – they are also full of healthy nutrients. Antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin — a medium-sized apple offers about four grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives apples a huge list of health benefits.
1. Whiter, healthier teeth
Apples won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.
2. Control your weight
This is one of the health benefits of apples most of us are willing to get. Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage weight and improve overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre — like apples — will fill you up without costing you too many calories.
3. Detoxify your liver
Your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best – and easiest – things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits, like apples.
4. Protect against Parkinson’s
Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fibre foods like apples may be protected against Parkinson’s disease. This is a condition characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.
5. Curb all sorts of cancers
Research says that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 percent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds like triterpenoids in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast.
6. Decrease your risk of diabetes
People who eat apples, at least one a day, are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. The reason this is a health benefit of apples is because this fruit is loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.
7. Reduce cholesterol
The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.
8. Get a healthier heart
An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.
9. Prevent gallstones
This is one of the apple benefit is eye opening. Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre, apples again to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.
10. Beat diarrhoea and constipation
Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.