Once October rolls around, the world tends to put pumpkin on a pedestal. Pumpkin is wonderful – it’s healthy and so delicious – but what apples? They need some fall lovin’ too!
You’ve probably heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” before, but have you ever stopped to consider why this phrase came about? It’s because apples are full of nutrients and antioxidant compounds that fight disease and keep your body functioning optimally.
Here are some of our favorite health benefits of apples. This list is by no means all-inclusive, but we think it’s a great place to start.
- A medium apple contains a whopping 4 to 5 grams of soluble fiber for a minimal 95 calories. This fiber helps control blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Eating high-fiber, low-calorie foods like apples also helps promote weight loss.
- A class of antioxidants, called anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red and purplish colors in apples, can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Apples have been shown to increase the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps nerve cells communicate. This increase in acetylcholine is associated with improved memory and a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Apples contain compounds called triterpenoids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of liver, colon, and breast cancers.
- Eating at least five apples per week (that’s fewer than one per day!) has been associated with improved lung function. A study done by Nottingham University links this benefit to high levels of a flavonoid called quercetin, which is also found in onions and tea.
- A study of 9,208 men and women found that those who ate the most apples had a lower risk of thrombotic stroke – the type of stroke that occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the arteries that supplies blood to the brain.
- People who eat apples regularly have lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of chronic inflammation, which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and metabolic syndrome.