Have you ever wondered which are the top health benefits of eating apples!?! Well, wonder no more as we included all health benefits of eating apples in this article.
The origin of apples is not well known, however there are records of apple crops from ancient Egypt. There are also traces of apples in other Caspian Sea civilizations and China. The word “apple” comes from the old English æppel and it could be one of the oldest English word to come from a Indo-European form.
The largest apple producer in the world is China with about 40% of the total production. The second producer is the U.S. with more than 7.5%. Other leading apple producers are Turkey, France, Italy and Iran. 60% of all the commercially sold apples in the U.S. are grown in Washington state.
Apples are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. One medium sized apple has about 13% of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber and 11% of vitamin C. One apple can supply you with 72 calories, two of them being from fat. Other nutrients that the apple has are vitamin K, vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium. Apples are 85% water. Apples contain carbohydrates which may increase blood sugar levels.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Today, this old proverb in backed up by science and is a very clear statement when thinking of health benefits of eating apples.
Reduced risk of cancer
Research suggests that due to the Vitamin C and other antioxidants in apples, this fruit may reduce risk of cancer by preventing DNA damage. Also, fibers control cholesterol levels helping with heart disease and weight loss.
Diets low in fat and high in fiber are associated with lower incidents of prostate cancer. Phytoestrogens are preventive agents against prostate cancer. One class of phytoestrogens is flavonoids, which are found in a high proportion in apples, onions and tea leaves. According to a study by Mayo Clinic in 2001, quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, prevents growth of prostate cancer cells.
A study by Cornell University indicated that phytochemicals from apple skin inhibit the reproduction of colon cancer cells.
The National Cancer Institute stated that foods containing flavonoids can reduce lung cancer risk by 50%. Scientists at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii stated that “foods rich in certain flavonoids may protect against certain forms of lung cancer.” Also, British studies indicate that amongst health benefits of eating apples is also lungs health. A study shows that people who ate five apples per week had better lung function and lower risk for respiratory disease. According to the University of Groningen, apples can reduce the risk of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) at smokers by 50%. COPD makes its victims gasping for breath – very important when thinking of health benefits of eating apples. Dutch scientists studied if the flavonoids (found in a high amount in apples and tea) could help against COPD. Their results were that a high intake of catechins (a flavonoid) and solid fruits are beneficial against COPD.
Reduces risk of health diseases
Finnish researchers have studied the effect of the flavonoid quercetin on cardiovascular diseases. It was concluded that being a major source of quercetin, apples could decrease the risk of thrombotic stroke.
The same researchers associated the dietary consumption of flavonoids with heart attack cases and stated that people with very low intake of flavonoids are more exposed to coronary disease. Dutch scientists studied the effect of the catechin flavonoid found in apples, tea and chocolate. They concluded that intake of catechin may reduce risk of ischemic heart disease.
A recent study on more than 34,000 women published in the March 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that three foods rich in flavonoids (apples, red wine and pears) lower the risk of mortality for coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids are also found in other fruits and vegetables, tea, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Even thou the study focused on postmenopausal women, groups of all ages are encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables, including apples.
Also, many studies have shown that apple consumption reduces the blood cholesterol. The substance responsible for this is thought to be pectin found in also other fruits and vegetables. A study at University of California at Davis showed that apple juice inhibits oxidation of harmful cholesterol. The specific substances that acted this way are not yet known, but both fresh and commercial apple juices inhibited LDL oxidation – again, very important when thinking of health benefits of eating apples.
Brain and memory benefits
A group of apple compounds could protect the brain from damage that causes Alzheimer and Parkinsonism. Apple phenolics found in fresh apple can protect nerve cells. Research from University of Massachusetts Lowell suggests that apple consumption can protect brain cells from age related memory loss. There were performed tests on mice that confirmed that apple juice protects against oxidative brain damage. The mice with apple juice diet had significantly better results at the maze tests than the other mice. However, more research is needed.
Preventing skin damage
Also, other studies suggested that apples may also help with wrinkles. Sun caused skin damage may be repelled with consumption of fruits like apples and prunes, vegetables and olive oil. Meat and butter have adverse effects.
A Japanese study on animals suggests that procyanidin, a chemical compound in apples may help with hair growth. However the results were inconclusive to make an assumption on the effects of procyanidin on humans. With future research, this might also be included in the list of health benefits of eating apples.
Apples can also clean teeth, but the malic acid in the fruit is capable of eroding teeth over time through excessive consumption.
The seeds are poisonous because of the small amount of amygdalin, however it won’t have any toxic effect unless eaten in a high quantity.