You’ll have heard of the phrase: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”…
What are apples good for anyway?
It is one of the most popular fruits and has an aura of health around it.
Every powerpoint and presentation slide that talks about health has an apple and a tape measure on it.
The apple tree is Malus domestica and its origin is in Central Asia.
Today, however, the tree is cultivated almost everywhere in the world.
What are the benefits for apples?
We can summarise their benefits as the following:
- High antioxidant power and rich in polyphenols.
- Rich in fibre and very satiating.
- Low calorie intake.
- Rich in vitamin C.
- Very reasonable price (important).
- Easy to take anywhere (healthy snack).
Although the carbohydrates it contains are mainly simple sugars (you know what a bad press they get), the total glycaemic load and glycaemic index is low, at around 30-45.
Its high fibre and water content contributes to this..
This is due to its content of FODMAPs, small sugars that in some people trigger symptoms such as abdominal bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain. Go to this link to find out more.
How much fibre is there in an apple?
In terms of fibre, one medium apple contains around 4 grams of fibre, which is 20% of the RDA for fibre (recommended daily allowance).
Most of the fibre is soluble fibre (mainly pectin).
We’ve already talked about soluble fibre on other occasions, some of its benefits:
- Ability to improve the glycaemic profile avoiding peaks of hyperglycaemia;
- Generate a greater sense of satiety throughout the day; and
- Feed good bacteria in your digestive tract, which will generate metabolically active substances such as short-chain fatty acids.
What nutrients does it provide?
Regarding its micronutrient content, the most relevant are vitamin C and potassium.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant found in citrus fruits.
A diet high in antioxidant foods is a diet capable of preventing multiple chronic diseases.
The health potential of the Mediterranean diet lies, among many other things, in this aspect.
Potassium is another interesting and abundant micronutrient. Among its most important functions is that it improves cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure when consumed in sufficient quantities.
Let’s talk about antioxidants.
Three of the most interesting and abundant in the apple are:
- Quercetin. This exhibits antineoplastic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and even mood-enhancing activity in preclinical studies.
- Chlorogenic acid. This is one of the compounds present in coffee and related to better blood sugar control. It also effectively combats constipation.
- Catechins. You may have heard of them as one of the most interesting features of green tea. It’ s a natural antioxidant that has been shown to improve brain function and has a compendium of fabulous benefits.
An apple a day to reap the benefits
Studies on this food tell us it’s a good ally in the fight against obesity:
- For weight loss.
- For decreasing total caloric intake throughout the day.
Another often overlooked factor is that it is an inexpensive fruit in most countries, easy to transport and doesn’t need to be peeled.
This makes it an ideal snack.
In patients with diabetes (type 1 or type 2), apples and their antioxidants slow down and hinder the absorption of simple sugars present in the diet, which is why they are associated with better glycaemic control.
There are some surprising animal studies on cardiovascular disease and apples.
For example, in this study (Hamsters), it is suggested that the frequent ingestion of apples reduces the formation of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries by up to 48%.
Yes, I know, we’re not Hamsters. But it’s a surprising finding nonetheless.
Epidemiological studies link the intake of one or more apples a day with a lower risk of cancer. Specifically, this study links such intake with 20% less risk of colorectal cancer and 18% less risk of breast cancer.
How many calories are there in an apple?
100 grams of apple contains approximately 50 kcal.
- About 85% of its weight is water.
- The rest is divided into 14 grams of carbohydrates and 2-3 grams of fibre per 100 grams of product.
How to cooke an apple
The healthiest way is not to, that’s to say, you should eat it directly.
However, this fruit does lend itself to different forms of presentation, which are mentioned below.
The most recommendable from a health point of view are oven baked apples and microwave baked apples. Their sugar content increases slightly and their fibre content decreases considerably, and some micronutrients are lost.
- Julia A Ello-Martin, Liane S Roe, Jenny H Ledikwe, Amanda M Beach, Barbara J Rolls (2007). Dietary energy density in the treatment of obesity: a year-long trial comparing 2 weight-loss diets.
- Kelly L. Johnston, Michael N. Clifford Linda M Morgan (2002). Possible role for apple juice phenolic compounds in the acute modification of glucose tolerance and gastrointestinal hormone secretion in humans.
- Kelly Décordé, Pierre-Louis Teissèdre, Cyril Auger, Jean-Paul Cristol, Jean-Max Rouanet (2008). Phenolics from purple grape, apple, purple grape juice and apple juice prevent early atherosclerosis induced by an atherogenic diet in hamsters.
- S. Gallus, R. Talamini, A. Giacosa, M. Montella, V. Ramazzotti, S. Franceschi, E. Negri, C. La Vecchia (2005). Does an apple a day keep the oncologist away?.
Do you know about Apple Fibre? Click here to find out all the details.