- Apples benefit gut health as they contain prebiotics that feed the good gut bacteria.
- They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber that can help regulate bowel movements.
- Your immune system can also benefit from eating apples, as they contain pectin.
It turns out that there may be some truth to the old English saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Loaded with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, apples have several health benefits ranging from improving gut health to preventing chronic disease.
Here are seven known health benefits of apples:
1. They can improve gut health
There are good bacteria in your gut that help keep digestive issues like bloating at bay, and research shows that apples, particularly organic ones, can support a healthy gut microbiome.
“Apples contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber, which is a prebiotic. This feeds the good gut bacteria in your colon microbiome,” says Emily Rice, RD, a staff dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
By feeding the good bacteria and helping it flourish, the pectin in apples helps keep your gut healthy, resulting in benefits like regular bowel movements and increased immunity, says Rice.
2. It can regulate bowel movements
An apple with the skin contains about 4.5 grams of fiber , including soluble and insoluble fiber, which has the following gut benefits:
Benefits Of Eating Apples Soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance that can slow down digestion and prevent diarrhea
Insoluble fiber increases stool bulk and helps food pass quickly through the intestines, preventing constipation
3. It can lower blood pressure
Apples aren’t necessarily a rich source of potassium, but if eaten alongside a diverse and healthy diet, the potassium in apples can help contribute to healthy blood pressure due to the way it relaxes blood vessel walls , thus relieving the tension:
A 2015 analysis of three studies found that people who ate more than four servings a week of whole fruits and vegetables, including apples, had a lower risk of high blood pressure than those who only ate whole fruits and vegetables once a month .
Note: An apple contains approximately 107 milligrams of potassium . The recommended daily intake of potassium is 2,600 mg for women and 3,400 mg for men. .
If you have high blood pressure, lowering it can prevent heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
4. It can lower cholesterol
The soluble fiber in apples can help limit the amount of cholesterol that’s absorbed into your bloodstream, which can lower low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol, says Rice.
Lowering cholesterol in general reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
5. It can boost your immune system
Soluble fiber, like the pectin found in apples, can strengthen your immune system, says Allison Childress, PhD, RDN , a registered dietitian and assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University .
“Soluble fiber increases the production of interleukin-4 protein which stimulates T cells. These play a critical role in our immunity to pathogens,” says Childress.
A 2020 study found that pectin can improve your intestinal immune barrier, which can further protect you from intestinal infections.
6. May be diabetes friendly
Thanks to their fiber, apples have a low glycemic index , meaning they are unlikely to cause blood sugar spikes, making them a healthy choice for people with diabetes.
Apples have a GI of about 28 . For comparison, a glass of apple juice, which lacks fiber, has a GI of about 44.
In addition to being a healthy option for people with diabetes, apples can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
A 2005 study linked apples specifically to a lower risk of diabetes, finding that those who ate an apple a day had a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t eat apples.
7. May Prevent Free Radical Damage
Apples are rich in polyphenols, which are plant chemicals loaded with antioxidants .
Childress says that these polyphenols may help protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals and may help prevent conditions such as :
- Heart diseases
- eye diseases
- It’s important to note that most of the antioxidant content comes from the skin of apples, says Childress, so removing the skin should be avoided.
8. May be beneficial for bone health
Benefits Of Eating Apples may contribute to higher bone mineral density, says Childress.
This can prevent osteoporosis , which occurs when there is a deterioration of the bone structure that can lead to an increased risk of bone fractures.
That’s because the vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and potassium found in apples can reduce the amount of calcium that’s lost through excretion, thus promoting bone health, says Rice.
A study in 2012 found a link between higher fruit intake and increased bone density and strength, and apples specifically are one of the fruits studied. The bone benefits of fruit intake are thought to be related to the antioxidants and other bioactive compounds found in the fruit.