I just got back from my annual apple buying trip to Minnesota and despite some tough growing conditions this past season, the apple crop is delicious as ever. I loaded up on Zestar and Honeycrisp apples, along with a few apple varieties that are so new that they don’t even have a name yet.
As you head to your local apple orchard this fall, you may wonder what’s so healthy about apples. Well, here’s the scoop.
Special Fiber-Phytonutrient Blend. Apples contain a blend of fiber and phytonutrients that helps to lower fat levels (cholesterol, LDL) in the blood. The fiber comes from pectin, a type of soluble fiber, but the pectin alone doesn’t appear to provide the apple’s heart healthy benefits. Research shows that the phytonutrients in apples work with the pectin to help significantly lower fats in the blood. That means you need to eat the whole apple rather than adding a scoop of processed pectin/soluble fiber to your morning OJ.
Hunger Fighter. Research found that people who ate a medium apple before a meal ate 15% fewer calories. Try it and see if it works! (In the study, people ate the apple 15 minutes before their meal.) In a different study, it was found that eating a whole apple rather than applesauce or apple juice resulted in less hunger. So if you want a snack, choose the whole apple!
Healthier GI Tract. Studies are still being done on apples and their effect on the GI tract but early results are showing that apples cause changes in the bacteria found in the large intestine and these changes are believed to benefit health. Apples also have insoluble fiber, which keeps things moving through the GI tract–another bonus.
Helps Manage Blood Sugar. Apples have a variety of flavenoids and polyphenols, which are different types of plant compounds. Research shows that these compounds work in various ways to help keep your blood sugar from spiking. Apples are also low on the glycemic index, another bonus for those looking to better manage blood glucose levels.
Full of Antioxidants. Studies suggest that the antioxidants in apples help reduce atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and lower the risk of asthma and lung cancer. A lot of these antioxidants are in the apple skin so keep the peel on.
These are just some of the many health benefits of apples. So perhaps the saying is true: An apple a day really does keep the doctor away!