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The health & wellbeing benefits of apples
Yes indeed – the humble apple is a health foodie’s fruit bowl favourite. Of all the common fruits we eat, the apple offers us perhaps the most uncommonly high number of wellbeing benefits. An impressive number of studies now support the adage that an apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away. With so many fantastic British varieties on display in farmers’ markets throughout autumn, from crisp, aromatic Coxes to the full-flavoured Spartan, it’s the perfect opportunity to fill our fruit bowls with some locally-sourced goodness. If they are from an organic orchard, then all the better. If not, simply wash the apples in warm, mildly soapy water when you get home to remove any chemical residues such as post-harvest fungicides. This is especially important when eating the skins – which we should!
Keep the doctor away…
Over the years, studies have shown that eating apples brings many benefits, such as helping to reduce cholesterol, improve bowel function and lower the risk of stroke, Type 2 diabetes and asthma. More recent research has even linked eating apples to reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer including prostate, breast, colon and lung.
Fruit and fibre…
Apples contain great sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre, including the pectin found in apples, helps prevent the build up of cholesterol in the blood vessels, decreasing the risk of arteriosclerosis and heart disease. Insoluble fibre provides bulk in our intestinal tract helping cleanse and move food more quickly through the digestive system.
Ample apple antioxidants
Apples are also a potent source of antioxidants, with more than twice the antioxidant capacity of oranges and seven times that of bananas. It is these antioxidant properties that have been related to lowering the risk of asthma in numerous studies and indeed lowering the risk of lung cancer.
For a hit of vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), B and C, and flavonoids that contain important minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, boron and zinc, apples are an easy and delicious place to start. Many of these phytonutrients, along with almost half their vitamin C content, are found in or just below the skin, which is why apples are best eaten unpeeled, skin and all.
They’re also low in calories, averaging between 50 and 80 kcals per apple, depending on the variety and size. Coupled with their low glycemic index (GI) of 38, which means that they release their sugar into the bloodstream gradually over time and provide us with a long-lasting source of energy, this makes an apple one of the perfect breakfast ingredients. I love to add a grated apple to plain live yoghurt and top with a few flaked almonds and sunflower seeds. You can extend this by adding a small handful of oats and a few raspberries or blueberries. So simple to make – and so utterly delicious!
Loved this? Read on here for more apple recipe inspiration:
- Apples can help to reduce cholesterol, improve bowel function and lower the risk of stroke, Type 2 diabetes and asthma
- Apples are best eaten unpeeled as many of their nutrients are found in or just below the skin