Here in the land down-under, it’s Autumn and new season apples are appearing in the stores.
I love apples for many reasons, they are a complete package of goodness and they taste great. They carry well in your bag and just like bananas, most kids will eat them.
We have all heard the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, is it true? All fruit is good for you, however there are varying levels of fibre, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants across all fruit varieties.
What’s in an apple?
Vitamins, minerals, fibre and polyphenols, plus macronutrients – carbohydrates, fat and protein. If you would like to see the full composition list for an average unpeeled apple, see reference (1) for link.
Apples have both soluble and insoluble fibre – the insoluble fibre in apple skin acts as roughage and passes through the gut, whereas the soluble fibre in the flesh (which contains pectin) turns into a gel within the gut, helping to feed gut bacteria (pectin is a prebiotic). If you would like to know more about fibre see my previous post here.
Pectin is used to set jams and jellies, it has a similar effect with the bowel and can help firm stools, don’t eat the skin if you are looking for the gel effect, skin does not help firm stools.
Other than macronutrients, fibre, vitamins and minerals lets look at the other goodies are in apples and their benefits, for the full report see reference (2) below.
There are a number of polyphenols in whole apples (skin and flesh), including flavonol, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins (in red peel), phenolic acids and dihydrochalcones. As discussed in reference (2), these compounds may offer positive health effects including:
- cancer and cardio-vascular disease prevention;
- anti-oxidants/increased levels of glutathione to protect against free radicals;
- a reduced risk of athma;
- for the full list see reference (2).
So maybe the old saying is true – an apple a day will help provide the nutrients we need to stay healthy and hopefully reduce the need to see a doctor.
Note – If you are on a reduced sugar or prescribed diet, before making changes to your current diet, please first check with your health professional first to see if eating apples are appropriate for you.
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release, https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/09003.
- A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health – Hyson, DA 2011, https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/2/5/408/4557935