Snag a snack that’s healthful to the core: an apple! While apples aren’t the first thing you think of when you say “superfood,” this fruit is one of the best. Eating apples has been linked to a reduced risk of countless diseases, from type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe its apples’ rich concentration of bioactive polyphenol compounds, antioxidants, and fiber that contribute to their wide-reaching health benefits.
If you aren’t already eating apples, these are the convincing reasons why you should start right now—you’ll get a bushel of health benefits! For some kitchen inspiration on how to cook and eat ’em up, don’t miss This One Trick Will Make Your Apples Stay Fresh for Longer.
Apples are a fantastic source of polyphenols, dietary fiber, and other nutrients that have been linked to weight loss. A review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that eating a whole apple for anywhere between 4 and 12 weeks by overweight people can cause weight loss. There are many ways apples can help you lose weight, from promoting satiety with its fiber content to scavenging free radicals to even modulating fat genes in a positive way. For example, a compound called ursolic acid that’s found in apple peels is believed to increase muscle and brown fat (a good fat that ratchets up calorie burn)—both of which decrease diet-induced obesity.
The soluble fiber in apples has been shown to reduce inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases and may even strengthen the immune system. Researchers believe that the type of soluble fiber in apples changes immune cells to act in an anti-inflammatory manner, which helps us to recover faster from infection.
The fiber and polyphenols in apples have wide-reaching benefits, one of which is to support your gut microbiota—the community of microorganisms in your large intestine that support your digestive, immune, and brain health. Studies show that eating whole apples (the beneficial compounds are most concentrated in the peel) can have a positive effect on your microbiota. When women consumed two apples a day for two weeks, they increased an abundance of good bacteria in their guts, according to an Anaerobe study.
There are many ways in which apples can support your heart. A healthy microbiome has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. So because eating apples can encourage growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome, they may also support better heart health. Another way in which apples are linked to a lower risk of heart problems, including heart disease and stroke, is through their high levels of flavonoids.
Scientists at the University of Western Australia found that women who ate one small apple a day had a longer life expectancy than those who ate fewer than 15 apples a year. The study showed that eating an apple a day may reduce the risk of dying early by 35 percent. Apples have also been linked to lower risk of certain cancers, like skin, mammary, and colon cancer.
The skin of a medium apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber, a significant dose that will stave off hunger pangs and help control high blood sugar. A study in BMJ linked eating whole fruits, particularly apples, to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Eating apples begets eating more produce. Researchers found that eating apples is associated with better diet quality, so eating an apple a day may help encourage you to eat better overall. And make sure your diet is in tip-top shape by avoiding these 9 “Healthy” Foods Dietitians Actually Hate