The sweet, crunchy fruit of the season is synonymous with fall – trips to apple orchards, caramel apples and apple cider are just a few things that come to mind when thinking about apples. But you don’t need to wait until autumn to enjoy this favorite fruit, and you definitely don’t have to limit your apple intake. Apple nutrition offers a variety of health benefits that you can get all year round.
The apple’s heart-healthy attributes have been linked to its water-soluble fiber and powerful antioxidant compounds. The fiber helps to keep blood cholesterol levels low, while the antioxidants inhibit inflammation and prevent plaque from forming on artery walls. This is why a recent study linked eating apples with a lower risk of death from heart disease.
Eating two whole apples per day may help to reduce high cholesterol, according to a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods. Researchers found that the daily apple consumption lowered participants’ blood levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by 40 percent.
This type of cholesterol is known to cause atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. It was also found that the soluble fiber in apples helps to slow down the rate at which cholesterol is deposited on the arteries, so it can be broken up and excreted from the body.
Adding an apple to your diet will also help to prevent other heart-health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The antioxidants and polyphenols in apples are thought to protect against these conditions by inhibiting oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to the development of both diseases.
In addition, the soluble fiber in apples is believed to help protect against colon cancer and other gastrointestinal tract issues. Those with high dietary intakes of apples are also believed to have a lower risk of asthma, according to some studies. While further research in humans is needed, the anti-inflammatory properties of apples have been linked to improved lung health. The polyphenols in apples are thought to be able to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals released into the air by smokers, which can cause damage to healthy cells and contribute to inflammation.
Apples are the perfect snack for a busy lifestyle and they make a great alternative to other sugary, high-calorie snacks. They can be enjoyed on their own, or added to salads and smoothies. They can even be used as a topping for yogurt or to give desserts a healthy twist. So next time your mother nags you to eat an apple a day, listen to her and add this healthy snack to your routine!