An Apple a Day: The Health Benefits of Apples

Apples are a member of the rose plant family, a diverse group that also includes almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, and raspberries. Throughout the world, there are 75,000 varieties of apples grown.

Apples are available in shades of gold, green, pink, and red, and their flavors in all color categories range from mild sweetness to tartness (the latter tend to be better for baking because they retain their texture when cooked).

The results of numerous studies suggest that the old adage – “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – has merit.

Does eating apples help to prevent disease?

Because they are a good source of fiber and antioxidants, apples reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and macular degeneration. They also contain phytonutrients that support beneficial gut bacteria and assist in the regulation of blood sugar, which reduces the risk of diabetes.

Are apples an anti-inflammatory food?

Apples have anti-inflammatory effects. Research has shown that they reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as asthma and may help to prevent other conditions caused by inflammation such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).

Are apples good for weight loss?

At only 95 nutrition-packed calories, apples are a great food for those who are trying to lose weight. Research has shown that people who eat apples before meals decrease their average calorie intake by more than the calories in an apple; in other words, they consume fewer calories overall. The long-term benefits of apples were demonstrated in a recent study, which found that the obesity rate was 30% lower among those who ate whole apples regularly (benefits were slightly decreased for those who got their apples via apple juice or apple sauce).

Does apple juice provide the same benefits as whole apples?

If you’re eating apples for the health benefits, choose whole apples over juice – intact apples are richer in fiber and beneficial phytonutrients (which are often diminished during processing). You can also increase the health benefits of apples by eating the skins, which are particularly nutrient-rich (two-thirds of the fiber and much of the antioxidant content is located in the peel). Buy organic apples if possible, or rinse apples thoroughly with water while gently rubbing the apple skin to remove pesticide residues.

Should I store apples in the fridge or at room temperature?

Apples will ripen much faster at room temperature than they will in the refrigerator, which is something to keep in mind when storing them. Another thing to consider is that apples (as well as peaches, plums, pears, and muskmelons) give off ethylene gas when stored, which can cause potatoes to sprout, so it’s best not to store these items close together.

Further reading

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