At this time of year, there’s nothing better than biting into a fresh, crisp apple for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Of course, until more recent generations, you couldn’t enjoy always fresh apples outside the fall season (unless you had a root cellar). Meaning you probably had to settle for some canned apples, apple cider, or apple sauce.
Thankfully, nowadays, you can find many different varieties of fresh apples—including Fuji, Gala, Honey Crisp, and Red or Golden Delicious—year-round at the market.
And that’s a good thing, considering this tasty fruit can transform your health in FIVE key ways…
The five amazing health benefits of apples
Without a doubt, apples are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They’re high in both pectin and fiber, which help with digestion and support the “good” probiotic bacteria in your gut. They’re also loaded with polyphenols (powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds).
Plus, research shows that eating foods with pectin and polyphenols helps prevent cancer (especially colon and breast cancer), cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and cognitive impairment.
Here are five additional major health benefits of eating apples…
1.) Regular, healthy bathroom habits. Apples are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to your stool. (I remember an old laxative commercial that compared the bulk in its product to a certain number of apples. But the truth is, you’re much better off just eating the apples.)
Apples also contain healthy probiotic bacteria to support your gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome. In fact, researchers in Austria recently compared the probiotic bacteria found in organic versus conventionally grown apples.
They found that both varieties contain about the same amount of probiotic bacteria. But organic apples have a more balanced, diverse, and evenly distributed population of probiotic bacteria compared to conventionally grown apples. Which, ultimately, is much better for your gut.
As an added bonus, the researchers discovered that the probiotic bacteria in organic apples improves their taste. And finally, the organic apples didn’t contain E. coli or any other known bacterial pathogens, whereas the conventional apples did.
Of course, I always recommend opting for organic apples simply because farmers can’t legally spray any type of organic produce with harmful pesticides. (More on that point in a moment.)
2.) Balanced blood sugar. Apples have metabolic benefits that help regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of Type II diabetes. In fact, the phytonutrients in apples prevent spikes in blood sugar in three ways…
First, they inhibit enzymes involved in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. Second, they stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. Third, they reduce the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
3.) Reduction of stroke risk. In one notable study involving more than 9,000 men and women, researchers found that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had a lower risk of suffering a stroke caused by blood clots.
4.) More energy throughout the day. Apples can serve as a good source for natural energy. In fact, the vitamin C and phenols counter the effects of oxidative stress, and the malic acid content is good for muscle energy and function. Apples also help satisfy your hunger throughout the day.
5.) A clean, fresh mouth. Eating apples naturally cleans the teeth and helps control food odors and bad breath. It also promotes saliva production, which is good for oral health and digestion.
More reasons to choose organic varieties
Each year the Environmental Working Group puts together a “Dirty Dozen” list of the fruits and vegetables most-contaminated by pesticides.
Sadly, apples top the list year after year. And the chemical pesticides used on conventionally grown apples can and do accumulate in your body. As a result, they can poison your tissues and metabolism. These chemical pesticides also kill the naturally occurring probiotic bacteria on the apple…and harm probiotic bacteria in your gut.
So, when selecting your apples at the market or orchard, remember to pick organic varieties, free of chemical pesticides.
In addition, make sure to eat the skin of the apple as well, which has a higher nutrient concentration than the flesh.
I also recommend keeping apples (and other fruits) on the countertop so you’re more likely to see and remember to eat them. As an added bonus, I find they tend to taste better at room temperature, too!
P.S. For more research behind the many health benefits of apples, check out the current issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Eve’s forbidden fruit really does help keep the doctor away…and so much more”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one today!
“Quercetin intake and the incidence of cerebrovascular disease,” Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000;54:415–417. doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600974
“Association Between Apple Consumption and Physician Visits: Appealing the Conventional Wisdom That an Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.” JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(5):777–783. doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.5466
“An Apple a Day: Which Bacteria Do We East With Organic and Conventional Apples?” Front Microbiol. 2019 Jul 24;10:1629. doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01629
“A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health.” Adv Nutr. 2011 Sep; 2(5): 408–420. doi.org/10.3945/an.111.000513.