An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
It was a playground rhyme before most of us were able to process exactly what we were talking about—but turns out the old wives (or who ever came up with this saying) were spot on. There are over 7,500 distinct apple varieties, and they’re all good for our health.
While different varieties may be best suited to different purposes (from baking to juicing), what they all share in common is that they’re loaded with fiber and antioxidants. And that’s very good news for anyone who’s looking to improve their health and reduce their risk of acquiring a host of diseases.
So “an apple a day” isn’t just a cute nursery rhyme—it’s bona fide health advice. Here’s how apples can improve your health.
They reduce the risk of several serious diseases.
Regular apple consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of a variety of serious illnesses, from cardiovascular disease to diabetes and several forms of cancer, including cancer of the colon, liver, lung, and breast. What makes apples such powerful disease fighters? The fruits contain especially high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals, including catechin, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and phloridzin.
They improve lung health.
Eating just five apples a week can improve the function of your lungs. (Researchers speculate this is probably because of all the antioxidants present in apples.) Regular apple consumption can also significantly decrease the risk of developing lung cancer, relieve the symptoms of asthma, and reduce the risk of asthma in children whose mothers consumed plenty of apples while they were in utero.
They’re good for your heart.
Apples have been shown to benefit heart health in a number of ways. They can help lower blood pressure (and prevent high blood pressure), stabilize blood sugar, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower the risk of stroke. Again, apples’ high soluble fiber and antioxidant content are thought to be behind these impressive benefits.
They improve cholesterol.
A medium-sized apple clocks in at less than 100 calories and approximately four grams of fiber, a good portion of which is soluble. Soluble fiber has been shown to help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind). This type of fiber can also help reduce inflammation in the body and improve immune system function.
They give the brain a boost.
An apple a day isn’t just good for your body. It’s also good for your mind. Research has found that regular apple consumption can improve memory function, protect brain cells from degeneration, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Eating an apple every once in awhile will give you a health boost in the form of good-for-you vitamins and minerals. But eating an apple every day (or close to it) is what will really allow you to take advantage of all the impressive health benefits outlined above. (One note: If you want to reap the benefits imparted by an apple’s soluble fiber, be sure to consume the skin along with the flesh.) Eating the whole fruit on a daily basis (or close to it) will impart the most powerful benefits—so go get yourself a bushel.