The apple (Malus pumila) is a member of the rose family, along with the pear. It is a crisp, white ﬂeshed fruit with a red, yellow, or green skin. In the United States, more than twenty-ﬁve varieties of apples are available; they vary not only in color and appearance but also in sweetness, ﬂavor, and tartness. For example, Golden and Red delicious apples are mild and sweet while Pippins and Granny Smith apples are notably brisk and tart.
Tart apples are better able to retain their texture during cooking, while sweeter varieties, such as Delicious, Braeburn and Fuji apples, are usually eaten raw. Most supermarkets in the U.K. sell about eight varieties (and about 70 percent of apples sold) but there are approximately 2,040 varieties at the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale. The most popular varieties are Royal Gala, Jonagold, Braeburn, Fiesta and Cox’s Orange Pippin.
History of Apple
The original apple tree is thought to have grown in Eastern Europe and southwestern Asia but has now spread to most temperate regions of the world. There are now over 7,000 varieties of apples in the market as a result of cultivation and hybridization. The apple holds a special place in many historical and mythical realms, beginning with the biblical story of Adam and Eve. In Norse mythology, apples were believed to keep people young forever.
The apple has been used as a symbol in many classic stories (e.g., “Snow White”). One story that is based on irrefutable fact is the legend of Johnny Appleseed——a real person named John Chapman, who in the 1800s walked barefoot across an area of 100,000 square miles in the United States planting apple trees that provided food and a livelihood for generations of settlers.
Nutritional Highlights of Apple
Apples are an excellent source of vitamin C, pectin, and other ﬁbers. They are also a good source of potassium. Most of the apple’s important nutrients are contained in its skin, and raw apples are higher in many nutrients and phytochemicals as well.’ If apples are raw and unpeeled, they are a great source of many important phytochemicals, such as ellagic acid and ﬂavonoids (especially quercetin). For example, fresh whole apples and fresh apple juice contain approximately 100-130 milligrams per 100 grams of ellagic, chlorogenic, and caffeic acids.
The content of these compounds in cooked or commercial apple products, however, is at or near zero. A 100 gram serving of apple is one small apple (four per pound/1/2 kilogram) and provides 52 calories, 0.3 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, and 12.8 grams of carbohydrate with 2.4 grams of ﬁber and 10.4 grams as natural sugars. For comparison, a medium-sized apple (three per pound/% kilogram) provides 72 calories, 0.4 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, and 19.1 grams of carbohydrates with 3.3 grams of ﬁber and 14.3 grams of sugars.
A 100 gram serving of dried apple provides 243 calories, 0.9 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, and 65.9 grams of carbohydrate with 8.7 grams of ﬁber and 57.2 grams of sugars; this serving also provides a whopping 450 milligrams of potassium.
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Carbohydrates in Apples
Apples are mainly composed of carbs and water, and are rich in simple sugars, such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose. Despite their high carbohydrate and sugar content, the glycemic index is low, ranging from 29 to 44.
The glycemic index is a measure of how food affects the rise in blood sugar levels after eating. Low values are associated with various health benefits. Fruit often score low on the glycemic index, probably due to their high fiber and polyphenol content that helps slow down carbohydrate digestion.
Apples are very rich in fiber. A single medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fiber, about 17% of the recommended daily intake. A portion of their fiber content is made up of both insoluble and soluble fibers called pectin.
Soluble fiber has been associated with numerous beneficial effects on health, partly mediated by their effect on the friendly bacteria in the intestine. Fiber may also help improve satiety and cause weight loss, while lowering blood sugar levels and improving the function of the digestive system.
Vitamins and Minerals
Apples contain many vitamins and minerals, but not in high amounts. However, apples are usually a good source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C: Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a common antioxidant in fruits. It is an essential dietary nutrient that has many important functions in the body.
Potassium: The main mineral in apples. High intake of potassium may have beneficial effects for heart health.
Calories are Calories
While apples are healthy fruits and a great snack, they do contain calories and sugars and should be counted as part of your daily allotment. In other words, they are not “freebies.” An average medium apple has between 90 and 95 calories, so if a dieter consumed 10 medium apples in a day, this would amount to more than 900 calories. If you eat other foods besides apples, this caloric allotment for fruit alone is too much, and is likely to tip the scale or inhibit weight loss.
Apples and Sugar
Apples contain carbohydrates, though not the simple kind that raise blood sugar quickly. A healthy carbohydrate filled with fiber and nutrients, apples are a great snack and are recommended as part of each meal. However, the body turns to carbohydrates first for fuel, so consuming too many apples will keep the body from burning fat, just as consuming too much of any carbohydrate will inhibit weight loss. A medium apple contains 25 carbohydrates, 5 of which are grams of fiber. Therefore, the net carbohydrate count for a medium apple is 20. For a low carbohydrate dieter hoping to lose weight through ketosis, eating more than two apples a day would tip the carbohydrate count over the limit for weight loss.
Other Plant Compounds
Apples are high in various antioxidant plant compounds, which are responsible for many of their health benefits.
Here are the main ones:
Quercetin: A nutrient found in some plant foods, shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies.
Catechin: A natural antioxidant, also found in large amounts in green tea. Shown to improve brain and muscle function in animal studies.
Chlorogenic Acid: Also found in coffee, chlorogenic acid has been shown to lower blood sugar and cause weight loss in some studies.
Health Benefits of Apple
The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” appears to be true. In an analysis of more than eighty-ﬁve studies, apple consumption was shown to be consistently associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, asthma, and type 2 diabetes compared to other fruits and vegetables. In one of the studies evaluated, researchers in Finland followed more than 5,000.
Finnish men and women for more than twenty years. Those who ate the most apples and other ﬂavonoid-rich foods, such as onions and tea, were found to have a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate the smallest amount of these foods.
In another study, apple consumption was linked to a lower risk for asthma. When nearly 1,500 adults in the United Kingdom were asked about their eating habits during the previous year, the investigators found that people who ate at least two apples each week had a 22 to 32 percent lower risk of developing asthma than those who ate less of this fruit.
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Researchers feel that much of apple’s protective effects against heart disease and asthma is related to its high content of ﬂavonoids like quercetin. Apples are also very high in pectin, a soluble ﬁber that has been shown to exert a number of beneﬁcial effects. Because it is a gel—forming ﬁber, pectin can lower cholesterol levels as well as improve the intestinal muscle’s ability to push waste through the gastrointestinal tract. One medium (140 gram) unpeeled apple provides 3 grams of ﬁber, more than 10 percent of the daily ﬁber intake recommended by experts.
Even without its peel, a medium apple provides 2.7 grams of ﬁber. Adding just one large apple (about I75 grams) to the daily diet has been shown to decrease serum cholesterol by 8 to 11 percent. Eating two large apples a day has lowered cholesterol levels by up to 16 percent.
Apples’ insoluble ﬁber and pectin both help promote bowel regularity, relieving both constipation and diarrhea. In fact, one well-known over-the-counter diarrhea remedy, Kaopectate, actually contains a form of pectin.
1. Promotes Oral Health
This mighty fruit is known to maintain oral health. Thanks to malic acid that keeps your teeth white and shiny. It is widely used by companies to prepare commercial whitening toothpaste. It is worth mentioning that chewing apple stimulates saliva production that keeps risks of tooth decay at bay.
2. It Maintains Cardiovascular Health
Apples are loaded with pectin, which is a soluble fiber that is known to reduce cholesterol in the blood vessel walls. This process also lowers the risk of atherosclerosis. Moreover, the soluble fiber tie-up with the fats presents in the intestine so that cholesterol won’t rise in your body. Many studies have proved that people who consume apples regularly are less prone to stroke as compared to those who don’t. This sweet and sour fruit also contains lots of potassium that is known to control high blood pressure preventing you from the risk of heart attack.
3. A Healthy Snack for Diabetics
Apples are considered as one of the healthiest snacks you should indulge in. It is safe for people suffering with Type-2 diabetes, and they can eat it every day without any worry in the world. According to a recent study, munching an apple for breakfast reduces the chance of Type-2 diabetes by 29%.
This mouthwatering fruit can also stop certain enzymes from turning into starch instead they transform into a simple sugar that your body requires to produce energy. Moreover, apples are a great way to control insulin as the components found in them are known to release sugar into the bloodstream steadily. The decent quantity of soluble fibers in the fruit also controls blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
4. It Improves Respiratory Health
You can improve your lung health by consuming apples in any form. Thanks to the components found in the fruit that are known to prevent you from several respiratory problems including, bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.
5. It Fights Cancerous Cells
Being enriched with anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti-proliferative qualities and flavonoids, apples have the potential to lower the chance of pancreatic cancer. According to experts regular consumption of apples can also prevent your body from mammary tumors. The oligosaccharides found in apple are said to kill colon cancer cells.
6. Apple Prevents Osteoporosis
This amazing fruit has plenty of phloridzin (a flavonoid), which shields women against osteoporosis. Compound boron found in the apples is also worked to strengthen bones preventing women from further bone problems.
7. It keeps Your Gut Healthy
Experts emphasized on consuming at least one apple daily because being rich in dietary fiber, it is extremely beneficial for intestinal disorders including diverticulitis, stomach cancer, and hemorrhoids. Many studies have proved it as a simple yet effective way to treat diarrhea and constipation. Thanks to the high levels of dietary fiber as they relieve constipation and in case of diarrhea, remove excess water naturally.
Moreover, it also performs as a cleanser and detoxifier that flushes out toxic metals including mercury and lead from your body. It is worth mentioning that eating apple regularly also reduces Bacteroides and Clostridiales found in your large intestine.
8. It Maintains Neurological Health
Being enriched with an antioxidant Quercetin, apples can help lower the risk of cellular death, which is usually the result of the oxidization of neurons. Consuming apples is also said to reduce the chance of dementia. You will be surprised to learn that being packed with the high levels of antioxidants and fiber, this mighty fruit can protect you from Parkinson’s disease as well. According to experts, incorporating apples in your daily in the form of juice will increase the production of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), which results in enhanced memory power.
9. Boost Your Energy Levels
Apples are a great source to get super energized. This is why; experts suggest munching an apple before your workout session. Quercetin and antioxidants ensure your body gets a proper supply of oxygen through enhanced blood circulation. This is ideal for people who indulge in workout sessions and exercise regimes.
10. It Enhances Skin Conditions
You can get rid of old dead dermal cells by eating an apple every day. It is also known to rejuvenate skin cells, boosting collagen production, keeping your skin nice and hydrated. Drinking a glass of fresh apple juice keeps your skin free from all sorts of inflammations, irritations and similar skin problems.
11. It Prevents Premature Aging
Being enriched with vitamins, apple boosts collagen production preventing premature aging and wrinkles. Thanks to vitamin A found in the fruit, which is responsible to keep skin wrinkles and sagging at bay.
12. It Controls Body Weight
Apples contain no fat thus, they are ideal for overweight people. Being enriched with dietary fiber, this tasty fruit keeps you full for hours impeding you from overeating.
13. Apples Prevent Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids happen when your anal canal veins swell. This condition can be extremely painful causing pressure in your pelvic and rectal region. Consuming fiber is the simplest way to deal with swollen anal veins, and being loaded with dietary fiber, apples are the perfect solution.
14. It Works as a Detoxifier
Maintaining liver health is essential as it is responsible to remove toxins from your body. You can opt for detox diets, but they aren’t a healthy option. Therefore, in this case, consuming apple juice can become a healthy alternative.
15. It Prevents Cataracts
Many studies have concluded that consuming a diet enriched with antioxidants can prevent cataracts. Consuming apples can help you here as it is said to reduce the development of cataracts.
How to Select and Store Apple
As stated above, there are many varieties of apples. So, when it comes to selection, it depends on your palate whether you prefer a sweeter or more tart apple and whether you like to have your apple baked or raw. As a guideline, the Red and Golden Delicious apples are among the sweetest, while the Braeburn and Fuji are only slightly tart. The tartest apples are the Gravenstein, Pippin, and Granny Smith. While these apples may be too tart for some, they retain their texture best during cooking, where the Bramley comes into its own.
In the Northern Hemisphere, apple season begins at the end of summer and runs until early winter. Apples that you see available at other times of the year have been in cold storage or imported from different parts of the world. Whenever possible, it is strongly encouraged to buy organic fruit. To certify that it is organic, in the U.K. the fruit will carry a Soil Association label. Nonorganic apples are sprayed with many dangerous chemicals, especially pesticides.
Furthermore, nonorganic apples are often waxed to prolong their freshness. However, do not be confused and try to determine if the apple is organic by the waxiness because even organic apples will appear waxy due to their natural coating.
Also, apples should be ﬁrm, crisp, and well colored. Apples that are immature and ripened artiﬁcially will be less vibrant. Mature apples produce a characteristic snap when you apply ﬁngernail pressure to break the skin. These have more color and enhanced ﬂavor and will store longer. Conversely, overripe apples feel softer when pressure is applied to the skin.
Tips for Preparing Apple
Wash organically grown apples gently by rinsing them under cool water and patting them dry with a paper towel. Nonorganic apples should be sprayed with a solution of diluted additive free soap or commercial produce wash and then washed gently under cool running water, then patted dry.
As discussed above, for maximum nutritional beneﬁt, apples should be consumed in their fresh form—either whole or sliced, or as fresh apple juice. In juicing, apples mix very well with other fruit as well as vegetables, because of their sweet but not overpowering ﬂavor. Since there are very small amounts of cyanide in the seeds of apples, many people recommend that you core apples to remove the seeds before eating.
This probably is a good idea when eating apples, but the amount of cyanide in the apple seed is below a level that is of concern. If you are making juice in a commercial juicer, it is not necessary, since there is very little liquid in the seed. To prevent browning when slicing apples for a recipe, simply put the slices in a bowl of cold water with a spoonful of lemon juice added.
Quick Serving Ideas Apple
• Add diced apples to fruit or green salads.
• Lightly sauté slices from one apple with one diced potato and onion.
• Lightly sauté slices from one apple with a few raisins, sprinkle with ground cinnamon, cloves, or ginger, add a few chopped walnuts, then use as a ﬁlling for a nutritious omelet.
• For an unusual dessert, skewer apple chunks on cinnamon sticks and bake at 350 degrees F./ 180 degrees C./ gas 4 for 25 minutes.
• Sliced apples (either alone or with other fruit or nuts) and cheese are a favorite European dessert.
Recipe For Apple
- 4 tart green apples
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Prep Cook Ready In
15 m 15 m 30 m
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Scoop out the core from top of the apple, leaving a well. Do not cut all the way through. Stuff each apple with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Place in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and apples are tender.
Apple juice is one of the most popular and widely available fruit juices in the world due to its impressive health benefits and dense nutritional value. The many excellent health benefits of apple juice include improved heart health & digestion, cancer prevention, detoxification of the body, increased hydration, boosted immunity, better cognition, strengthened metabolism, weight loss, and improved respiratory health.
Nutritional Value of Apple Juice
Apple juice retains many of the key nutrients of apples, including vitamin C and various B vitamins, as well as many different minerals, such as magnesium, iron, calcium, manganese, and copper. Some of the fiber is also retained in this juice, as are the phytochemicals, flavonols, and procyanidins. A single cup also represents about 10% of your daily required carbohydrates, thanks to the natural sugars found in apple juice. Potassium is the most notable mineral in this juice, with a single serving delivering roughly 7% of your daily required intake.
Health Benefits of Apple Juice
Apple juice has many health benefits, let us discuss them in detail below.
Improves Heart Health
Potassium is found in higher concentrations than any other mineral in this juice, which is good news for your heart health. Potassium is a vasodilator, which means it can help to lower tension in your arteries and blood vessels. It also helps in relieving pressure and strain on the cardiovascular system as a whole. Apple juice also prevents cholesterol formation in your arteries, which is often of the major reason for heart attacks and other cardiovascular ailments.
There are certain anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic substances found in apple juice that can soothe the respiratory system and decrease irritation in the throat and lungs, helping to relieve asthma attacks and prevent respiratory infections.
One of the lesser known substances in apples is called malic acid, which can improve the digestive rate and support liver function. In combination with fiber and other stimulating minerals in apple juice, this juice can quickly relieve symptoms of constipation, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. It also contains sorbitol which helps in smoothening the digestive tract, by extracting water from the large intestine and pushing it into the colon, thereby easing the movement of stool.
The polyphenolic compounds, procyanidins, and quercetin present in apple juice are extremely powerful antioxidants that can help the body fight the effects of free radicals. By eliminating oxidative stress, apple juice has been shown in numerous studies to lower the risk of colon, breast, and skin cancer.
Packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, apple juice is very beneficial for the skin. It helps in reducing acne, inflammation, scars, and wrinkles. It is also known to prevent premature aging. By helping in collagen production, apple juice makes the skin more soft and healthy.
Improves Eye Health
The vitamin A present in this juice helps to sharpen the vision and prevents the development of any eye ailments.
Due to the presence of vitamin C, boron, iron, and other minerals in apple juice, it is known to promote bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
Apples contain a compound called procyanidin B-2, which is responsible for promoting hair growth and luster. This compound is what makes apple juice is beneficial for hair health.
Apple juice is a diuretic, and diuretics help you shed the excess water in your body. This means that it promotes urination and prevents swelling and bloating.
By balancing the pH levels of your body, apple juice prevents the growth of the UTI causing bacteria in your body, thereby preventing the painful occurrence of a urinary tract infection.
Loaded with a chemical called phytoestrogen, apple juice makes sure that your estrogen levels don’t dip down, thereby regulating menstruation, reproduction, and other features among women.
Apple juice has a notable amount of vitamin C, which is a key component of the body’s immune system. Vitamin C not only stimulates the immune system but also functions as an antioxidant compound that can prevent oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Antioxidants do more than protect against cancer; they also prevent oxidative stress in other parts of the body, such as the brain. Studies have shown that the antioxidants present in this fruit juice can lower your risk of neurological disease, particularly Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Long-term research has linked the consumption of apple juice with smaller waistlines, lower levels of body fat, lower cholesterol levels, lesser chance of developing diabetes and lower blood pressure, all of which are risk factors known as metabolic syndrome. For this reason, apple juice can help optimize your metabolism and protect your heart.
Detoxifies the Body
As mentioned, malic acid can improve liver function, which will speed the process of toxins being eliminated from the body. When combined with a large amount of water in this juice, this can stimulate urination and promote the release of more excess salts and fats that the body doesn’t need.
Improves liver function
As mentioned, malic acid can improve liver function. Apple juice, when combined with the large amounts of water, can stimulate urination and promote the release of excess salts and fats from the body. The high alkaline content in this juice also helps in flushing out toxins and maintains a good pH balance in the body, thereby acting as a liver cleanser.
Apple Negative Effects
Apple—the name itself reminds us of the old proverb – “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This yummy fruit is relished all over the world for its amazing taste and health benefits. Apple is not just consumed raw, but also finds a place in a wide variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. Do not forget the delicious apple pie!
But do you know that even this ‘miracle’ fruit can cause side effects when consumed in excess? We all are aware of the health benefits of apple.
Increase In Blood Sugar Level
Apple is a rich source of healthy carbohydrates, fiber and other nutrients. These carbohydrates are used by the body for fuel. However, excessive consumption of apples prevents the body from burning the fat. Too much carbohydrate can also prevent weight loss. A medium sized apple contains 25 carbohydrates and out of that just 5 grams are fiber. This side effect of apple will also lead to a rise in blood sugar levels, though the carbohydrate contained in apple does not lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, giving you ample warning time.
Apples are considered as healthy fruits, but at the same time they also contain calories and sugar. A medium-sized apple contains about 90 to 95 calories. So, if you consume 5 medium apples in a day, it will amount to consuming 3500 calories in a week, which makes up one pound of body weight! It is not a good option for those, who follow a low-carb diet and hoping to lose weight through ketosis. By consuming 5 apples per day, you can gain nearly 52 pounds in a year!
Like many other fruits, apples have a high content of fructose. This fructose is often used to make high-fructose corn syrup. Unlike glucose, which is absorbed into all body cells for energy, fructose is only used in the liver. When in the liver, it produces fats called triglycerides, which can lead to heart diseases. Excess consumption of apples can also lead to excess fructose in the body, which can cause several health problems like diabetes and obesity.
Harmful Effects Of Apple Seeds
Apples have several health benefits as long as the seeds are discarded. Apple seeds are poisonous by nature as they contain cyanide. Regular consumption of apple seeds can lead to the release of cyanide in the stomach during digestion. Consumption of one cup of apple seeds can even lead to death!
Consumption of apples may cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you are allergic to plum, peach, apricot, almond and strawberry, you are most likely to be allergic to apples as well. It is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming apples if you already suffer from an allergy.
Side Effects Of Apple Juice
Apple juice is generally considered a healthy drink, but it too has its own set of side effects when consumed in excess. Excessive consumption of apple juice can lead to diarrhea. Besides, people following an apple juice diet often suffer from headaches, dizziness and tiredness. Artificially sweetened apple juice contains a chemical called sorbitol, which can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate stones in the body.
Weakens Tooth Enamel
Apple cider vinegar is a natural supplement and is believed to have many potential health benefits. However, excessive doses of apple cider vinegar can cause several side effects. Being acidic in nature, this vinegar may weaken the tooth enamel when consumed in undiluted form. It is advisable to dilute it in water or drink it through a straw to avoid contact with the teeth. Rinse your mouth with fresh water to remove any traces of acid from the teeth once you are done drinking apple cider vinegar.
Overdose of apple cider vinegar can lead to low potassium levels in the blood and low bone density. People suffering from osteoporosis or taking potassium boosting medications should avoid consuming apple cider vinegar or consume it in low doses.
High doses of apple cider vinegar can damage your skin and throat. As mentioned before, it should always be diluted with water before drinking or applying to the skin to avoid any damage.
Other Side Effects
Apple cider can also aggravate symptoms like swelling, hives and breathing difficulty as well as indigestion and heartburn.
Don’t let these side effects scare you off apples! These red colored fruits should definitely be a part of your daily diet. The only thing you need to be careful about is the amount of apples you are eating. The saying is ‘an apple a day’ not ‘5 apples a day’!
As apples are among the top foods containing pesticide residues, we recommend selecting organically grown apples. Also, see “How to Select and Store,” above. If you purchase dried apples, avoid products preserved with sulphur dioxide or sulphites.