Health Benefits Of Eating Apple Fruit
From making the skin glow to boosting memory to causing weight loss, health benefits of eating apple fruit are many. Read on to know more about apple benefits, including green apple juice’s benefits.
By Arun Sharma
The adage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ gives us a fair idea about an apple’s benefits. This sweet, delicious fruit which comes in three different colours, red, green and yellow, is a powerhouse of nutrients and goodness.
The ancestor of the present-day apple (Malus domestica) is Malus sieversii. The origin of this species has been traced to Tian Shan (Mountain of Heaven/Heavenly Mountain), which lies between the borders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China. It is believed that the invading Greeks and Romans were instrumental in taking the apple from its place of origin and spreading it throughout Asia and Europe.
Today, more than 7,500 types of apples are grown globally. China, the USA and Poland are the top apple producing countries in the world. The most common types of apples grown worldwide are:
- Red Delicious
- Granny Smith
In India, apples are grown in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. But, with the development of new varieties, and the health benefits of apples becoming apparent, more areas are coming under apple cultivation. Apples are now being grown in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh as well. Some of the apple varieties grown in India are:
Jammu and Kashmir: Ambri Kashmir, Kesari, Maharaji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Hazratbali
Himachal Pradesh: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Tydeman, Granny Smith and Gala
Uttarakhand: Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Royal Delicious and Early Sunberry
Arunachal Pradesh: Red Delicious, Royal Delicious, Golden Delicious, Black Bendavis, Royal Gala, Gani Gala, Granny Smith, McIntosh, Rajakori and Crofton
Nagaland: Anna and Dorset
No matter which variety you eat, the benefits of eating apples remain invaluable. And, apples can be consumed in several ways. They can be eaten raw, can be processed to make products like jam and jelly, and added to various foods like ice cream and salad.
Nutritional value of apples
Benefits of apple in pregnancy or health benefits of eating apples mainly accrue from the antioxidants, Vitamin C and fibres present in the fruit. Here are some of the apple fruit’s nutrition facts:
- Water 85.56g
- Energy 52kcal
- Protein 0.26g
- Total lipid (fat) 0.17g
- Carbohydrate, by difference 13.81g
- Dietary fibre 2.4g
- Sugars 10.39g
- Calcium 6mg
- Iron 0.12mg
- Magnesium 5mg
- Potassium 107mg
- Phosphorus 11mg
- Vitamin C 4.6mg
- Folate 3µg
- Beta carotene 27µg
- Vitamin A 54 IU
- Lutein + zeaxanthin 29µg
- Vitamin K 2.2µg
- Phytosterols 12mg
Data based on USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) — National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Health benefits of eating apples
Even during the ancient times, humans had a fair idea of how important it was to consume fruits for good health. And now, an increasing number of people have come to understand the importance of apple, as modern science keeps unravelling the apple fruit’s benefits, one after the other. Let’s look at some of the science-based benefits of eating apples:
- Helps weight management: Weight loss or weight management, to a large extent, depends on the type of diet we have. Including an apple for weight loss in the daily diet is a good practice as it is fibre-rich and low in calories. In a study, it was found that adding apples to the daily diet resulted in a weight loss of 1.32kg after 10 weeks.
- Boosts cognitive performance: Mental abilities play an important role in helping us get ahead in life. Apples have high amounts of quercetin, a flavanol known to boost memory and concentration. No wonder the story of Sir Isaac Newton coming up with the law of gravity is attributed to an apple falling on his head! Antioxidants present in apples prevent memory loss and protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Lowers risk of diabetes: Along with boosting mental performance, quercetin is also associated with lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. This was found in a Finnish study which included 10,000 people. Quercetin is present in high quantities in apple peels.
- Preserves bone mass: Strong bones play an important role. They store calcium, provide structure to the body and protect the internal organs. However, bone density decreases with age, as bones lose minerals. This makes bones thinner and increases the risk of fractures. Ample amounts of minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, and Vitamins C and K present in apple preserve bone health by improving bone density.
- Protects from drug injury: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can cause gastrointestinal damage, leading to erosions and ulcers. Graziani and colleagues found in their study that consuming apple extracts prevented damage to gastric epithelial cells. This protective effect is associated with the antioxidant activity of phenolic compounds present in apples.
Apple juice’s benefits
- Keeps skin in good health: As our age increases, our skin becomes dry, and begins to lose its elasticity and shine. Wrinkles form on the skin and there is thinning of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). Drinking apple juice hydrates the skin. The minerals not only nourish the body but also the skin and keep it glowing.
- Protects from cancer: Research has shown that consuming vegetables and fruits can prevent cancer. In her study, Dianne A Hyson found that apple juice could inhibit colon and breast cancer cells. The polyphenols present in apple juice are thought to cause this.
- Decreases cholesterol: The polyphenols present in apple juice prevent bad cholesterol (LDL) deposits from building up within the arteries. Studies have shown that consuming apple juice leads to decrease in mortality due to cardiovascular issues.
- Keeps the liver healthy: One of the most important organs, the liver cleanses the body of toxins. So, taking care of the liver is of paramount importance. Drinking apple juice maintains the pH balances within the body, which helps the liver function well. Pectin, a compound present in apple juice, cleanses the liver of toxins.
- Promotes bowel movements: Unhealthy dietary habits can cause digestive problems and constipation. Drinking apple juice supplies the body with fibre and water, which helps in promoting bowel movements and relieving constipation.
Green apple’s benefits
Whenever we think of apples, we think of the red-coloured variety. The red colour of an apple is due to the presence of anthocyanins in its peel. However, there is another variety of apples which is green. Granny Smith and Crispin are two popular varieties of green apples. The green colour is due to the abundance of chlorophyll in the peel.
Green apples taste sour because they contain more malic acid, which is very beneficial in treating skin conditions like acne and wrinkles. Let’s find out more about green apple’s benefits and green apple juice’s benefits:
- Boosts hair growth: A lot of people now complain about hair loss or alopecia. Along with trying various remedies, they should also think about eating green apples. Granny Smith contains high amounts of a compound called procyanidin B-2, which promotes hair growth and prevents hair loss.
- Decreases risk of asthma: With increasing pollution, there has been a deterioration in lung health and an increase in the risk of developing asthma. In a study by Willers et al, it was found that there was a reduced risk of asthma in children whose mothers had consumed green apples when they were pregnant. This is due to the presence of Vitamin C and other minerals in green apples.
- Improves digestion: An unhealthy lifestyle coupled with other factors can throw the digestive system off balance. Consuming green apples, which are rich in fibre, can help prevent constipation and improve digestion.
- Lowers risk of eye problems: The increase in the use of screen gadgets has also resulted in an increase in vision problems. One of the benefits of eating green apples is that it provides us with a good supply of Vitamin C. According to the American Optometric Association, Vitamin C keeps the blood vessels of the eyes healthy, decreases the risk of cataracts and slows down age-related macular degeneration.
- Protects from effects of inflammation: The immune system’s response to foreign bodies like dust or pathogens is called inflammation. It is a chain of reactions which resolves with restoring the body’s healthy state. But, when inflammation doesn’t resolve, it can cause damage to the internal organs. The antioxidants in green apple protect the body from inflammation-causing conditions like arthritis.
Apple’s benefits for babies
One of the advantages of apple is that it can be given to babies. Here are a few apple recipes to prepare some wholesome dishes for your baby. The fibre in apple promotes bowel movements and prevents constipation, the vitamins and minerals promote growth and development, and the antioxidants boost immunity.
Side effects of apple
While the health benefits of eating apples are many, there are a few side effects as well. These include:
- Weight gain, when eaten in excess
- Tooth enamel damage due to the acids present in apple
- Allergic reactions in those allergic to fruits of the Rosaceae family which include almond, apricot, peach, pear, plum and strawberry
- Diarrhoea, if too much apple juice is consumed
- Blood sugar increase (especially while drinking packaged apple juice which contains added sugar)
Uses of apple fruit
Eating an apple doesn’t just satiate hunger but provides several benefits. Some of the medicinal uses of apple fruit benefits include relieving allergies by slowing down the release of histamine, strengthening the gums, healing acne and pimples, preventing ulcers, reducing inflammation and enhancing physical strength.
Interesting apple facts
- The life expectancy of an apple tree is about 100 years.
- The apple peel contains most of the antioxidants, and not the flesh.
- Apple seeds contain traces of the deadly poison ‘cyanide’.
- Sekai Ichi is considered the biggest and the most expensive variety of apples.
- ‘The Big Apple’ is another name for New York city.
- The fear of apples is called Malusdomesticaphobia.
About the author:
Written by Arun Sharma on 8 November 2019
The author was associated with the healthcare industry before becoming a full-time writer and editor. A doting father to two preteens, he believes in experiential learning for his children. Also, he loves mountain trekking and nature trips.
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