There is a huge body of evidence to suggest that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancers and cardiovascular disease. In particular, apples have a very strong antioxidant activity which has been linked to reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Including apples in your diet regularly can also be beneficial in several other ways including supporting weight management and maintaining gut health. Apples are rich in nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, manganese and phosphorus as well as antioxidants and fibre.
Here are some of the reasons to eat more apples:
Can help control weight
Apples can help you to feel fuller for longer, and research has actually shown that those who eat apples regularly are more likely to have a lower BMI. This can be attributed to the low energy density of apples (low calorie) combined with the high fibre content.
Apples contain a type of soluble fibre called pectin. Pectin binds with cholesterol and bile acids which help excrete LDL (less healthy cholesterol) from the body. This in turn may reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
Help maintain a healthier gut
Dietary polyphenols are compounds that occur naturally in plant foods such as fruit and veg, cereals and wine, tea and coffee. And there is growing evidence that dietary polyphenols may contribute to gut health by stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria which in turn produces prebiotic-like effects.
Ways to incorporate apples into the diet
Eat apples in their skin as this means you will get all the nutritional benefit, because the fibre and antioxidants are closer to the skin!
- Have an apple on its own as a morning snack
- Grate apple on porridge
- Slice an apple with peanut butter or cheese
- Have a baked apple with raisins, cinnamon and ice cream or yoghurt
- Make home-made apple crumble
Cardona, F. et al (2013) Benefits of polyphenols on gut microbiota and implications in human health. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Williams J. and Stonehouse W. Translating the scientific evidence for apples and pears into health messages. Report for HIA. November 2016.