Home General Info & Awareness An Apple A Day : The Health Benefits Of Eating Apples

An Apple A Day : The Health Benefits Of Eating Apples

by InvisiblyMe
The background is an outdoor scene with a wooden deck. On the deck is a bright red apple with drops of water on top. The image is made to look as though the apple is huge. Below this is the post title - An Apple A Day: The health benefits of eating apples.

Most of us will have heard of the expression ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but just how true is it really? Turns out, these cherubic little balls of fruit are packed with goodness. Let’s take a look at some of the incredible potential health benefits of apples in our diet. 

Health Benefits Of Eating Apples

Neuron Creation & Brain Function 

Apples contain high concentrations of compounds called phytonutrients. These natural compounds stimulate the neurogenesis process, which essentially means the making of neurons. Neurons are vital cells that transmit all sorts of information to various parts of the body by way of electric signals, supporting our ability to remember and to learn.

Apples contain two particularly interesting compounds: dihydroxybezoic acid (DHBA) is in the flesh of the apple, and quercetin is in the apple peel. 

In research conducted by German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Germany, both of these compounds were found to help generate greater neuron development during lab tests using mice. In mouse brains, it was found that lab-grown stem cells didn’t just generate more neurons, they were also better protected from cell death following either DHBA or quercetin being added to the cultures.

Further testing discovered that parts of the brain associated with memory and learning saw stem cells be multiplied and more neurons created when the mice received high DHBA or quercetin doses. 

The research indicated that high doses of natural components like quercetin and DHBA in fruits can behave harmoniously in encouraging brain function and neurogenesis. It’s likely other compounds are also involved. Such results could have implications for conditions like Alzheimer’s, which we’ll get to shortly.

A white background with a photo of a green apple. The apple has a large heart-shaped chunk missing as though it's been bitten into.

Interestingly, research didn’t find apple juice to significantly impact neurogenesis because of it containing inadequate photochemical concentrations for this particular process. meaning you’re better off eating a whole apple. 

Weight Loss Or Maintenance

Flavonoids (a type of polyphenol or natural plant chemical) are found in many fruits and vegetables, including apples, strawberries, radishes and pears. They’re known for antioxidant properties but some research suggests such compounds could reduce the amount of energy absorbed from foods, especially sugar. 

Research conducted by the Harvard Medical School and the University of East Anglia hinted at the ability of flavonoids to help with maintaining or perhaps even losing a little weight. Their results were consistent across different ages of both women and men, whereby increased flavonoid consumption was associated with the maintenance of weight. The researchers noted that many adults typically gain weight with age, which could then increase the knock-on risk of conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Such findings could therefore be helpful for adults needing to maintain a healthy weight.

The more robust associations were found with foods that contain anthocyanin, such as grapes, strawberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, radishes and cherries. Flavonoid polymers were also particularly beneficial, which are those found in apples and tea, along with flavonoid, found in onions and tea. 

Furthermore, eating more fibre (‘roughage’) can help us to feel fuller, which might help those trying to lose or maintain weight.

Fibre For Digestion 

A medium-sized (referred to here as roughly 1.2g) apple will provide approximately 13.6g of fibre.

Fibre is important for supporting the digestive system and helping to prevent constipation. There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble: Soluble helps with slowing digestion and making you feel full. It also slows glucose digestion, which can help in controlling blood sugar levels. Insoluble fibre helps encourage regularity by stimulating the movement of food through the digestive system.

It’s worth keeping in mind that while fibre may help the majority of individuals, some people find either or both types of fibre can make bowel issues worse, particularly those with conditions like IBS. 

Lowering Cholesterol Plus Reduced Risk Of Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease

Fibre is also associated with cholesterol-lowering benefits and thus a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. For instance, a piece of research by Griep et al found a 52% low risk of stroke when eating apples (or even pears) on a regular basis. A more recent 2019 study discovered that 2 apples a day were able to lower the triglyceride levels and “bad” LDL cholesterol in participants.

A white background on which sits 5 apples. 4 are whole and one has been cut in half to show the insides.

Lowering Blood Pressure

Those with hypertension (high blood pressure) are typically advised to first try diet and lifestyle changes to lower their BP; if these are ineffective, medication may be considered. 

A 2016 study discovered that individuals eating over 4 servings of fruit and veg daily had a reduced risk of developing hypertension.

Apples may be particularly good in this regard as potassium is thought to help control blood pressure. The caveat here is that potassium for those kidney disease or any condition affecting the body’s management of potassium, could be harmful. Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet if you’re unsure. 

Prebiotic Potential

Apples also contain something called pectin, which acts like a prebiotic by feeding the gut’s good bacteria. Fibre is predominantly digested in the colon rather than the small intestine, where it can modulate microbial composition and encourage the growth of this good bacterial. Studies suggest an association between consuming apples and a lower risk of long-term diseases, like cardiovascular disease. More research is needed, but the potential here is for a link between the apples and gut microbiota, and resultant cardiovascular health. 

A Diabetic-Friendly Fruit

While the general assumption may be that fruits are out for diabetics, many with type 2 diabetes may find apples to be suitable for their diets given their low glycemic index (GI). This is because the soluble fibre can slow the absorption of glucose going into the bloodstream, helping to manage blood sugar levels. A 2016 study suggests that regular soluble fibre consumption could help in not just improving triglyceride and blood sugar levels, but in reducing insulin resistance, too. A diet inclusive of soluble fibre can also help in reducing the risk of first developing diabetes. 

Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidants became particularly trendy a few years ago, but the true benefits may still be under appreciated. Apples have high levels of antioxidants and studies suggest a few potential benefits as a result, especially when it comes to limiting the growth of cancer cells. 

For instance, Fabiani et al’s systematic review and meta-analysis found regular apple consumption to be associated with a lower risk for particular cancers, like oesophageal, colorectal and breast cancer.

A white background with a single green apple. The apple has been cut into slices and put back together so the slices jut out to either side.

Lowers Alzheimer’s Risk

In a review of existing research, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that individuals age 50 and above who had only a low level of flavonoid-rich foods in their diet were 2 to 4 times more likely over 20 years to go on to develop types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who consumed greater amounts of flavonoid-rich foods. In studies of elderly rats, those fed whole apples were found to have an improved memory comparable to that of the younger rats. 

Furthermore, the Biomolecules journal in 2020 added that the flavonoid quercetin has anti-Alzheimer’s properties, such as by helping to protect neurons from damage. More research is needed in this field but increasing our intake of apples, which are a good source of quercetin, might just help in reducing the risk of such conditions. 

Another comprehensive review indicates that apple juice could help in the preservation of acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter typically declined with age and lower levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, while I don’t think apples, even daily ones for years, will prevent Alzheimer’s, the research is an interesting starting point.

Boost Your Immune System

The same medium-size apple mentioned earlier can also provide around 8.4 milligrams of immune-boosting vitamin C, as well as quantities of DV and other minerals and vitamins like Vitamin K, Vitamin A, B6, magnesium and potassium. These can support your body’s vital functions and your immune system, the latter of which is important for the body’s defence against invaders like foreign bodies, bacteria and viruses.

How Do You Eat Your Apples?

Apples can be eaten in various ways, not just directly from the fruit bowl and bitten in to. You could add chopped apples to salads, pop them in with chicken in the slow cooker, bake them for a tasty but healthy dessert, or have a mini buffet of apple and cheese slices. 

Apples can provide a range of possible benefits, especially if you’re able to eat the skin and the flesh. Even apple juice can provide some potential perks.

While I don’t believe apples are magic that will instantly prevent the likes of Alzheimer’s or heart disease, the research suggests these bad boys can play an important role in a healthy diet. If it can’t hurt and your body tolerates apples, then building them into your diet a good way to proactively support your own health and wellness.

A white background with a photo of a green apple. The apple has a large heart-shaped chunk missing as though it's been bitten into. Above and below the apple it reads: "An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away. If You Throw It Hard Enough". Below that is invisibly me dot com.
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Caz  ♥

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Are you an apple fan? Did you know they could offer so much potential goodness?

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35 comments

Animalcouriers October 5, 2021 - 4:04 pm

Had heard they were good for you. Luckily as I eat one a day – well, apart from the bit shared with our dog 😀

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Monch Weller October 5, 2021 - 4:12 pm

You can never go wrong with apples!

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Yiena October 5, 2021 - 4:38 pm

ladies and gentlemen, we just discovered how an apple a day keeps the doctor away ???? thank you so much for sharing dear Caz ????

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Ashley L. Peterson October 5, 2021 - 4:46 pm

Bring on the apple pie!

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Liz October 5, 2021 - 5:06 pm

Yum. Apple pie. But I think they will say, not that way. But yes, cannot beat some apple pie.

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Sissy PepperHill October 5, 2021 - 4:55 pm

I love apples ,they are high FODMAP also,so sadly I cannot eat them as much as I would like to.

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annieasksyou October 5, 2021 - 6:15 pm

Very interesting, Caz. I knew apples are nutritious, but the specifics are most impressive. Well done!

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Kymber October 5, 2021 - 6:18 pm

Mmmmm apples! They are the best and I like all the points you brought up. I’m also glad they are diabetic friendly.

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Eddie October 5, 2021 - 6:27 pm

I never knew most of this about apples. Loads of health benefiting things in such a small simple package. May have to start eating more apples. Thanks for sharing.

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capost2k October 5, 2021 - 6:41 pm

My grandma used to call cigarettes “cancer sticks” before any of the hubbub over smoking in public or “studies” that showed a “possible connection.”
And she would almost daily say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
“Wisdom is justified by all her children.” Luke 7:35
❤️&????, c.a.

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Michelle October 5, 2021 - 6:43 pm

Who knew apples had so many wonderful benefits! My daughter eats an apple almost every night before bed. I love them dipped in vanilla yogurt dusted with cinnamon. ????

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Christy B October 5, 2021 - 7:47 pm

One of my fave snacks is sliced apple with peanut butter. Great to read about all the health benefits!

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B October 5, 2021 - 8:38 pm

Perfect fruit. Didn’t know about connection to Alzheimer.
Me, I love it raw and fresh most, though I adore apple tarts and cakes.

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Terri, Reclaiming Hope October 5, 2021 - 9:24 pm

Isn’t it great to know that something so tasty is also good for us? I One of my favorite ways to eat them (other than in apple pie, of course) is to chop them up and stir them into my oatmeal with some cinnamon. There’s a reason people say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” I have to say, I loved your version of it!????

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Sandee October 5, 2021 - 9:33 pm

Apples are a wonderful thing to have in ones diet. Well done as always.

Have a fabulous day, Caz. ♥

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Michele Anderson October 6, 2021 - 1:33 am

This is good because I love apples 🙂

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Rachel Duerden October 6, 2021 - 8:10 am

This is a fruit we take for granted.
A great article reminding us why we shouldn’t. ????

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Marilyn October 6, 2021 - 2:30 pm

Super message Caz. Just one more reason to plant a couple of apple trees. I’ve been promising myself for too long.
A couple of months ago my husband asked – if you could only eat one food what would it be. My immediate response – apples. Love ’em. As a snack. In salad (Waldorf!). Baked, crumble, amber, Charlotte, fool, pudding, cheesecake … and pie. In curry. Granola. Flapjack. Cake. Jam. Chutney.
When I was camping back in the early 60s a lot of us got a stomach bug. Our cure? Apples pieces were left to go brown, and then we ate them. Don’t know the reasoning but we all got back to health fairly quickly.
All the best.
Maz, X

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Ann Coleman October 6, 2021 - 9:11 pm

My mother-in-law once told me that she’d heard apples were actually bad for you. I knew that wasn’t right! Thanks for proving it.

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Chermaine October 7, 2021 - 11:17 am

Great article! I love apples, my go-to evening snack is an apple and a wedge of mature cheddar.

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Despite Pain October 7, 2021 - 3:14 pm

This is good to know because I am an apple fan. I normally chop one up to have in cereal in the morning or in porridge in the colder months. I also love them chopped up and mixed through a salad. It’s nice to know that the old saying has some truth to it.

(I also throw chunks of apple into a cake mix along with cinnamon, but perhaps that isn’t so healthy lol…but it’s really nice.)

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Jo October 7, 2021 - 4:03 pm

Did you know there’s an Apple day this month?

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InvisiblyMe October 9, 2021 - 4:05 pm

I do now! I had no idea – I should have waited to post this until 25th October! I should have known, there’s a day for everything ????

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magickmermaid October 7, 2021 - 8:06 pm

Autumn means apples! I just made apple sauce. 🙂 I love them baked as well.

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Masha October 8, 2021 - 12:02 pm

Isn’t it amazing all that one little apple can do. I go through stages with apples, I’ll eat them for a while and then I’ll stop for a while, but now, it’s time for apples again 🙂 xoxo

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The Oceanside Animals October 9, 2021 - 3:06 am

Lulu (*eyes Dada’s Mac Mini*): “Hmmm …”
Charlee: “NO!”

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James Viscosi October 9, 2021 - 3:25 am

Eating that particular Apple will NOT keep the doctor away, Lulu.

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Gemma October 9, 2021 - 11:55 am

Love posts like this! It’s amazing how many benefits are packed within this small fruit, plus it’s great that they can help to lower our risk of Alzheimer’s. I try and eat apples when I can, but unfortunately can’t have too many because of my IBS. Really insightful post though, thanks Caz

Gemma xx

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Emma, West Sussex October 10, 2021 - 2:05 pm

Wow, souc an interesting post, Caz.
I do eat an apple a day – along with my daily orange or grapefruit… but I had no idea about the potential prebiotic benefits, and chance of lowering the risk of Alzheimers. As Gemma said, thank you for such an insightful post. Exx.

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Mrs. Ram’s Jams October 10, 2021 - 2:58 pm

Apples are the best. My stomach dislikes them raw anymore, but I totally eat them in sauce form (and pie form if I feel like making a gluten free crust.)

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Samantha October 10, 2021 - 8:30 pm

I knew apples were great, but I didn’t know THIS great! I eat one a day, which started as an experiment to get myself into the habit of eating more fruit (it was successful). I usually peel it, though, and cut it in four pieces, but that’s mainly because I always fear the apple is bruised more than the outside can tell. If I’m away for a day, I just eat it as it is, so it’s just me being silly that I peel it. I know, it doesn’t make any sense, lol. My faves are the golden delicious. They live up to their names and, well, are even good to eat when you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

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Shell-Shell's????tipsandtricks October 11, 2021 - 6:26 am

Glad to hear this. I like apples. I like how it benefits the brain. So many health benefits!

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Blanca October 11, 2021 - 7:17 pm

I love apples! One of my favorite fruits. When I was pregnant I remember craving apples everyday. Thank you for sharing this!

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Lindsay October 13, 2021 - 2:10 am

I knew apples were good for us, but had no idea they had so many benefits!

Fletcher (my dog) and I love sharing an apple!

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Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet October 20, 2021 - 3:49 am

As a diabetic, I eat small servings of apples sometimes. Maybe they are not so bad for blood sugar after all. Thanks for an interesting post, Caz! <3

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