Apples are one of the most popular fruits around the world. The reason for their rising popularity is their dense nutritious value, good taste, and the consequent health benefits they have on the body.
This article describes the nutritional content of apples and how eating these fruits can benefit your health. It is recommended that you eat one to two every day and make sure you eat this fruit with the skin (peel).
Calories in Apple
- A small raw apple with skin having a diameter of about 2.75 inches contains 77 calories. A raw apple is one, which is not cooked or baked but is in a ripened state.
- A medium-sized apple having a diameter of about 3 inches provides 90 calories.
- A large apple with a diameter of 3.25 inches contains 116 calories.
- Apple skin contains only 5 calories.
Nutrition in Apples
One raw, unpeeled, medium-sized apple weighing 100 grams will provide you with the following nutrition:
- Calories: 52
- Water: 86%
- Protein: 0.3 grams
- Carbs: 13.8 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Sugar: 10.4 grams
- Fiber: 2.4 grams
One medium apple weighing 182 grams provides the following nutrients
- Calories: 95
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
The same serving also provides 2–4% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of manganese, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6.
Vitamins and minerals in apples
Apples also provide you with smaller quantities of vitamins A, E, and K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and pantothenic acid, and small amounts of several minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, copper, and manganese.
- Vitamin C. Though apples have small amounts of other vitamins, they are a decent source of vitamin C (Ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant that improves your immunity and boosts your body’s resistance power to fight infectious agents and damage caused by free radicals. A 100 mg raw apple with skin provides you with 4.6 mg of vitamin C. Similarly, a raw apple, weighing 138 grams provides 6.3 milligrams of vitamin C. Vitamin C performs many other functions in the body such as:
- Protecting cells from damage and keeping them healthy.
- Maintaining the health of skin, blood vessels, bones, and cartilage
- Helping with the healing of wounds
- Potassium. One medium-sized apple weighing about 100 grams contains 107 mg of potassium, which is 3% of your daily value. It is a mineral essential for heart health.
About carbohydrates (carbs) in apples
Apples contain mainly carbs and water. They are a rich source of simple sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose.
Despite their high content of carbohydrates and simple sugars, they do not produce spikes in your blood sugar levels. This is because their glycemic index (GI) is low ranging from 36 to 38.
The GI value of foods tells you how these foods affect the rise in blood sugar levels. Fruits are rich in fiber and polyphenols and therefore they usually have a low GI. A low glycemic index is linked with various health benefits.
About fiber in apples
Apples are noted for their rich fiber content. A single medium-sized apple weighing 100 grams contains about 4 grams of fiber, which is 17% of the Daily Value (DV).
Some of the fiber comes from insoluble and soluble fibers called pectin. Soluble fiber keeps the gut healthy, prevents or relieves constipation, and promotes proper evacuation of the bowels. It also feeds and encourages healthy gut bacteria.
After ingestion, the fiber in apples makes you feel full. You, therefore, eat less and this helps in weight loss. It also lowers blood sugar levels and improves digestion.
Apples are rich in various antioxidant plant compounds.
- Quercetin. Quercetin conjugates are found exclusively in apple peels. That is why its peels may have higher antioxidant activity and bioactivity than its flesh. This is a nutrient that is also found in many plant foods. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, and antidepressant effects.
- Catechin. Apples are a rich source of phytochemicals/, including catechins, and have properties that inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Catechin is a natural antioxidant, which is densely also present in green tea and is also believed to improve brain and muscle function.
- Chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is a hydroxycinnamic acid derivative. It has been found to lower blood sugar and cause weight loss in some studies. It tends to be higher in the flesh than in the peel
What are the main health benefits of eating apples?
Apples are a rich source of polyphenols (110 mg/100 g) and fiber ( 2–3 g/100 g). These are the contents, which make them very beneficial for our health. Check out some of the main health benefits of eating this fruit regularly.
May lower cholesterol
According to a study conducted and published on 16th December 2019 by the American Journal of Clinical Medicine, eating two apples a day lowers serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels and improves cardiometabolic biomarkers in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults. This implies a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Apples contain a natural soluble fiber called pectin, which has a cholesterol-lowering effect. They also contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been shown to lower serum cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol, slow down LDL cholesterol oxidation, stimulate endothelial nitric oxide synthase, prevent the aggregation of platelets, and block the inflammatory responses in atherosclerosis.
Apples prevent diabetes
Because of their good fiber content, apples have a low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is a measure used to determine how much food can influence your blood sugar levels. It is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels.
Foods with low GI value do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels and they help you control your blood sugar.
Additionally, apples are high in flavonoids, which are polyphenolic compounds. Eating them on a regular basis can increase insulin sensitivity. This is an important factor for managing your weight and preventing diabetes.
The polyphenolic compounds in apples are found primarily in the skin. They stimulate your pancreas to release insulin and facilitate the uptake of sugar from the blood by the body cells. This is an important factor to control your blood sugar.
Apples help to prevent obesity and reduce belly fat
According to a study in The Lancet, people who ate the most fiber had a significantly lower body weight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Apples are high on the list of fruits. Their rich pectin fiber content slows down digestion and helps reduce the absorption of excess dietary fats.
The slowed-down digestion keeps you feeling full for a longer period. This prevents you from overeating and putting on weight and acquiring a potbelly.
Secondly, apples contain bioactive compounds that help promote healthy gut bacteria, which can best improve the health of obese people.
May protect you from cancer, heart disease, asthma, and Alzheimer’s
As mentioned above, apples contain flavonoids, which are one of the polyphenolic compounds. These are rich antioxidants that prevent you from a number of diseases.
Consuming antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent the oxidative stress that causes cell damage and can lead to the development of cancer. One meta-analysis concluded that eating apples regularly may help lower the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer.
The fiber content may help to manage blood pressure, which will protect you against heart attack and stroke. Vitamin C in apples has been associated with improvements in lipid profiles, arterial stiffness, and endothelial function, which is great for heart health.
The flavonoid in apples is called quercetin. Research by the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition found that those with higher quercetin levels (such as through eating apples) had a significantly lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Improves bone health
A fresh apple provides a phytonutrient called phloridzin, which is a flavonoid unique to this fruit (found mainly in peels). This is an antioxidant that helps in building bone and improves bone density. It, thus, reduces the breakdown of bones and prevents osteoporosis.
Is it healthier to eat the apple fruit or drink its juice?
Eating an apple is always better than drinking its juice. This is because eating the whole fruit will give your metabolism a significant boost rather than drinking its juice. It takes more calories to digest an eaten apple than to digest its juice or its processed form (apple sauce).
Very few people know that drinking fruit juice increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes, but eating that same fruit reduces the diabetes risk.
Similarly, eating apples reduces cholesterol, but drinking their juice doesn’t. Again, regularly drinking fruit juices in childhood increases the risk of childhood obesity and obesity in later life. However, eating those same fruits does not increase the risk of becoming obese.
The fiber present in fruit contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that prevent many diseases. These are lost during juicing when you discard the pulp.
Secondly, the glycemic index of the whole fruit is lower than its juice. Eating low glycemic index foods regularly helps to regulate your metabolism and promote weight loss.
Thirdly consider this: A cup of apple juice contains 125 calories while its equal, which is a medium-sized apple, contains only about 85 to 90 calories.