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Apples: Health Benefits, Risks & Recipes

Most of us are familiar with the old Welsh proverb "An apple a day keeps the doctor away''. Apples have several health benefits which make it one of the most consumed fruits in the world.

Apples are high in antioxidants and flavonoids which lower the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes [1] .

Nutritional Value Of Apples

100 g of apples contain 54 kcal energy and they also contain

  • 0.41 g protein
  • 14.05 g carbohydrate
  • 2.1 g fibre
  • 10.33 g sugar
  • 8 mg calcium
  • 0.15 mg iron
  • 107 mg potassium
  • 2.0 mg vitamin C
  • 41 IU vitamin A

Health Benefits Of Apples

1. Improve heart health

Apples reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. They contain soluble fibre and polyphenol antioxidants which contribute to heart health and lower blood pressure. A study showed that, eating apples could lower the risk of stroke [2] .

2. Help in losing weight

Apples are a good source of fibre which keeps your stomach satiated for a longer period of time. A study showed that, people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller, compared to those who ate apple sauce or apple juice [3] . Another study found that 50 overweight women who ate apples lost an average of 1 kg and ate fewer calories than those who ate oat cookies [4] .

3. Lower diabetes risk

Apples contain polyphenol antioxidants that help in lowering the risk of diabetes. These antioxidants prevent damage to beta cells in the pancreas. Beta cells produce insulin in the body and are often damaged in people with type 2 diabetes [5] .

4. Prevent cancer

The phytochemicals in apples lower the incidence of cancer. A study conducted in women showed that consuming apples was linked to lower rates of death from cancer [6] . Another study showed that eating 1 or more apples per day reduces the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer by 18% and 20% respectively [7] .

5. Promote brain health

Quercetin, one of the antioxidants in apples, can help reduce cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Drinking apple juice increases the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, resulting in improved memory and lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease [5] .

6. Help fight asthma

Apples are rich in antioxidants which have been linked to reducing the risk of asthma. A study found that eating 15 per cent of a large apple a day was linked to a 10 per cent reduced risk of asthma [5] .

7. Promote bone health

Researchers believe that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in apples have a positive effect on bone health [8] . A study showed that women who include fresh apples, apple sauce, peeled apples into their diet lose less calcium from their bodies [5] .

8. Aid in digestion

Apples contain a type of soluble fibre called pectin which is beneficial for the gut bacteria in your gut. The fibre passes to your large intestine or colon, where it can increase the growth of good bacteria [9] .

9. Enhance skin and hair health

Apples lighten and brighten the skin, delay ageing and hydrate the skin due to the various antioxidants found in apples. It also promotes hair growth and prevents hair loss.

Health Risks Of Apples

Apple seeds contain cyanide, a powerful poison which can be extremely fatal to your health if consumed [10] . Eating apples also causes irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain in some people.

Ways To Eat Apples

  • Chop apples and add them to your green salads or fruit salads.
  • You can eat sliced apples with peanut butter as a healthy snack.
  • Apples can be used in desserts like muffins, ice creams, pancakes, and cakes.
  • You can also make apple juice and apple sauce.

Apple Recipes

1. Apple rabdi recipe (apple kheer recipe)

2. Apple jam recipe

3. Apple beetroot carrot juice recipe (ABC drink)

View Article References
  1. [1] Boyer, J., & Liu, R. H. (2004). Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits.Nutrition journal,3, 5.
  2. [2] Knekt, P., Isotupa, S., Rissanen, H., Heliövaara, M., Järvinen, R., Häkkinen, S., ... & Reunanen, A. (2000). Quercetin intake and the incidence of cerebrovascular disease.European journal of clinical nutrition,54(5), 415.
  3. [3] Flood-Obbagy, J. E., & Rolls, B. J. (2009). The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal.Appetite,52(2), 416–422.
  4. [4] de Oliveira, M. C., Sichieri, R., & Mozzer, R. V. (2008). A low-energy-dense diet adding fruit reduces weight and energy intake in women.Appetite,51(2), 291-295.
  5. [5] Hyson D. A. (). A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health.Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.),2(5), 408–420.
  6. [6] Hodgson, J. M., Prince, R. L., Woodman, R. J., Bondonno, C. P., Ivey, K. L., Bondonno, N., ... & Lewis, J. R. (2016). Apple intake is inversely associated with all-cause and disease-specific mortality in elderly women.British Journal of Nutrition,115(5), 860-867.
  7. [7] Gallus, S., Talamini, R., Giacosa, A., Montella, M., Ramazzotti, V., Franceschi, S., ... & La Vecchia, C. (2005). Does an apple a day keep the oncologist away?.Annals of Oncology,16(11), 1841-1844.
  8. [8] Shen, C. L., von Bergen, V., Chyu, M. C., Jenkins, M. R., Mo, H., Chen, C. H., & Kwun, I. S. (2012). Fruits and dietary phytochemicals in bone protection.Nutrition research,32(12), 897-910.
  9. [9] Koutsos, A., Tuohy, K. M., & Lovegrove, J. A. (2015). Apples and cardiovascular health--is the gut microbiota a core consideration?.Nutrients,7(6), 3959–3998.
  10. [10] Opyd, P. M., Jurgoński, A., Juśkiewicz, J., Milala, J., Zduńczyk, Z., & Król, B. (2017). Nutritional and Health-Related Effects of a Diet Containing Apple Seed Meal in Rats: The Case of Amygdalin.Nutrients,9(10), 1091.
Read more about: apples health benefits risk recipe
Story first published: Thursday, June 13, 2019, 17:39 [IST]
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