In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apples’Red Delicious and Granny Smith ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fiber called pectin – a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fiber. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fiber, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits.
Get whiter, healthier teeth
Nobody likes stained teeth and opting for dental procedures might make a hole in your pocket. However, a simple natural route to get whiter teeth other than maintaining proper oral hygiene is to add apples to your diet. Apples contain abrasive qualities which help in fighting stains on your teeth and thus, whiten your smile.
An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.
A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.
Protect against Parkinson’s
Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fiber foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.
Curb all sorts of cancers
Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 percent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds – triterpenoids – in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon, and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Decrease your risk of diabetes
Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fiber, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.
Over the last few decades, many reports suggest that polyphenols, antioxidant compounds found in apples and apple juice, may help inhibit the oxidation of LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is what leads to plaque buildup in arteries. Apples are also a good source of soluble fiber and have roughly the same cholesterol-lowering abilities as oats. If you’re counting, one small apple harbors one gram of soluble fiber. Don’t like apples? Many fruits sport comparable levels: 1/2 medium grapefruit, 1/2 large pear, 3 prunes, 2 dried figs, and one cup of strawberries. How much is good? Dare we say “an apple a day” is a good place to start. Better yet, maybe the new mantra should be an apple at every meal.
Get a healthier heart
An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fiber intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.
Beat diarrhea and constipation
Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, a fiber found in apples can help. Fiber can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.
Control your weight
Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fiber. Foods high in fiber will fill you up without costing you too many calories.
Detoxify your liver
We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best – and easiest – things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits – like apples.
Boost your immune system
Being rich in so many nutrients, apples can boost your immune system and keep you free from infections. In particular, a flavonoid called quercetin has been shown to significantly improve your immune system. Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.
Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants – like apples – are 10 to 15 percent less likely to develop cataracts.