The Health Benefits Of Apples, Explained
Ever wonder how many calories are in an apple? Answer—plus some surprising health benefits—ahead.
Now that it's time for cozy fall foods and drinks, it's normal to think about how the change in season (and seasonal foods) might impact your overall diet, especially if you tend to be more sedentary during the colder months. (Related: 31 Days of Delicious Fall Recipes)
As a dietitian and health coach, I've helped many people navigate this seasonal shift. The good news is that there are lots of fall produce options that fit perfectly well into a healthy, balanced diet.
Apples, which are grown in all 50 states and come in thousands of varieties (seriously!), are one of my top picks because they're nutritious, tasty, and super-versatile. They're perfect for snacking on or cooking in sweet or savory dishes. Personally, I'm obsessed with this apple "doughnut" recipe and love to make homemade applesauce to pair with things like oatmeal and slow-cooked pork.
With so many types to choose from, it's hard to go wrong or get bored. More benefits, here:
Apples Are Low in Calories (But How Many Calories Are In an Apple?)
Curious about how many calories are in an apple? Apples are a handy option when you're trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight: A medium apple only has about 95 calories.
Apples Offer Instant Portion Control
Because they take a while to eat and provide a good amount of fiber (about 4 grams in a medium), it's hard to eat more than one apple in a sitting. There's also that mental pause of finishing the entire piece and checking in with yourself about whether to reach for another.
A note on balance: Because apples provide carbs but no protein or fat, you'll get the most staying power when you consume them in the context of a meal or snack that also covers another macro base. That's why apples + peanut butter is so awesome.
Apples Are a Good Source of Fiber
Speaking of fiber, including an apple as a regular part of your day can help you reach your goal of 25 to 35 grams of fiber more easily. Those 4 grams put you well on your way. Fiber is super-important for gut health because it helps support regular digestion, and it also plays a key role in blood sugar management and even heart health, as fiber can help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. It also helps you feel more satisfied when you eat, which is helpful for keeping mindless snacking at bay.
Apples May Help Prevent Colds
A medium apple provides about 10 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. This is key for supporting proper immune system function so you can fend off those cool-weather colds.
Apples Contain Antioxidants and Phytonutrients
Quercetin, a specific type of flavanol found in apples, has been associated with a decrease in markers of inflammation, a decreased risk of stroke, and lower LDL cholesterol. Quercetin has also been studied for its role in potentially reducing the risk of (or slowing the progression of) neurodegeneration.
While it hasn't been proven whether eating an apple a day truly "keeps the doctor away" a 2015 cross-sectional study did show that people who consumed an apple a day took fewer prescription medications.
Apples Are Good for Your Brain
Apples and compounds found in apples have been studied for their impact on brain health. While this is still an emerging field (lots of the research has been done on mice, which may not apply to humans), some believe that the antioxidants that improve heart health may also benefit the brain.
Apples May Help Fight Cancer
A small study in elderly women shows that regular apple consumption could help prevent cancer. And many studies have shown that diets rich in vegetables and fruit, including apples, have been linked with lower cancer risk, possibly due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Apples Are Versatile and Easy to Cook With
Apples are a great option to keep in your kitchen because they're incredibly versatile and easy to cook with. Of course, they make awesome snacks on their own, or dipped in your favorite nut or seed butter, but they stand up great to cooking, too! And they're not just for apple sauce, either. Try them in soups, smoothies, and salads. Here are 10 delicious recipes to get you started.