You’ve heard the old adage: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. We all know we should eat more fruit. But why apples?
“They’re an easy fruit to munch on before a meal if you’re looking for a way to reduce your calorie intake,” says Kaitlin Anderson, a Hy-Vee registered dietitian in Rochester, Minnesota. She cites a recent study at Pennsylvania State University, where normal-weight men and women were given apples to eat before lunch. Participants who ate the apples consumed 187 fewer calories than those who ate nothing before the meal. “If you think of an apple as an extra course, you’ll think you’re eating more but you’ll actually be eating less,” says Kaitlin.
Apples are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Just one contains more fiber than you’ll get in a head of lettuce. “Keep in mind that much of the fiber comes from the peel, which is why it’s a good idea to eat apples with their skin,” says Kaitlin. Soluble fiber, such as pectin, helps prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incidence of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber in apples provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water that cleanses the digestive system.
The fruit may also cut your risk of heart disease, according to a new study of the health benefits of fiber consumption. The study found that for every 10 grams of fiber consumed per day, the risk of developing heart disease decreased 14 percent and the risk of dying from heart disease decreased 27 percent. Fiber from fruits, such as apples, appeared to be slightly more protective than cereal fiber. Apples also offer cancer protection. Researchers at Cornell University have discovered that phytochemicals in the skin of apples provide huge antioxidant and anticancer benefits.
Try some of these great apple recipes: