You’ve always heard this saying: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But, is that true?
In honor of National Eat a Red Apple Day, which is celebrated every Dec. 1, we will highlight some health benefits of apples. Considering apples are already such a popular—and inexpensive—fruit, we’re sure it won’t be too hard to pick up an extra apple every once in a while to enjoy all of the following health benefits.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are about 25 species and thousands of varieties of apples on our planet, making it the most commonly cultivated tree fruit. Taking a bite out of this sweet—or tart—apple gives you much more than just juicy satisfaction.
We’re always told to eat more fibrous foods because they help keep us full, aid in digestion and can lower our risk of diabetes. A medium-sized apple contains about four grams of fiber, fulfilling about 16 percent of the recommended intake for women and about 10 percent for men. According to the Mayo Clinic, apples contain soluble fiber, which can help “lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.” Low blood cholesterol levels can result in a healthier heart, lowering the risk of coronary artery disease.
People tend to get sick when the weather gets colder, so we’re lucky that one health benefit of apples is that they provide immune-enhancing vitamin C.
According to the USDA, via Livestrong.com, one medium-sized apple provides 8.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which “equates to 9 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin C if you are a man and 11 percent if you are a woman.” Vitamin C does more than help your immune system; it also helps produce collagen, repair bones and teeth and works as an antioxidant.
Apples can help deter serious ailments like cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
According to Best Health Magazine, eating apples can help “reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 percent;” promote “anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast;” and lower the possibility of developing colorectal cancer.
An editorial piece in Neurology, states that eating a substantial amount of apples could fight the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
“Men who ate 5 or more servings of apples per week has a decreased risk of [Parkinson’s] compared to those who eat less than 1 apple per month,” explains Walter A. Kukull, Ph.D., author of the article. “Our findings suggest that intake of some flavonoids [which includes apples] may reduce [Parkinson’s] risk, particularly in men, but a protective effect of other constituents of plant foods cannot be excluded.”
Good Housekeeping reports that apples can help “make you smarter” and fight Alzheimer’s. According to the magazine’s website, apples improve the production of acetylcholine, “a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells.” This chemical helps keep your brain “sharp as you age, enhance memory, and potentially lessen the odds of getting Alzheimer’s disease.”
So, now that you know some health benefits of apples, finish off that leftover apple pie from your Thanksgiving feast, grab a fresh apple and celebrate this vitamin-packed, nourishing fruit!