Why There is No Such Thing as A Bad Apple

Nutrition

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D. Founder

The apple is probably one of the most popular fruits. You can find them in most grocery stores you visit. This delicious, crunchy fruit comes in more than 2,000 varieties: Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp and Granny Smith to name a few.

Apples contain no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol and are rich in fiber, making them the perfect snack in between meals to help prevent hunger pangs and give you a boost of energy.

And as I looked further into the health benefits of apples, my appreciation for this fruit grew even more.

Eating apples may be good for neurological health.

Apples contain quercetin, a powerful flavonoid antioxidant. There is evidence  that quercetin may reduce cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Damage to these neurons may increase the risk of developing disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Quercetin may also help with breathing problems, even asthma.

Eating Apples may help fight cancer and much more.

Along with the antioxidant quercetin, apples contain additional antioxidant-rich phytochemicals, including catechin (which has also been linked to a reduction in body fat), phloridzin (which may reduce blood glucose levels) and chlorogenic acid (an agent also found in coffee that may have antibacterial and anticarcinogenic benefits).

“Apples are a widely consumed, rich source of phytochemicals, and epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease [they may lower your cholesterol], asthma, and diabetes,” according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

One study reported apples may decrease the risk for developing lung cancer. Participants of the study who increased their consumption of apples, along with onions and white grapefruit, decreased their risk of developing lung cancer by 40-50%.

Some varieties of apples may be more antioxidant-rich than other varieties. For example, some reports say that the Red Delicious apple has twice the amount of antioxidant power as the Empire apple. But at the end of the day, eating any variety of apple may have significant health benefits. Some studies also suggest organic apples have higher levels of antioxidants. So perhaps if you are going to splurge on something organic, make it apples. And remember, the fresher the better. As soon as apples are picked, they start losing antioxidant value. And always eat the skin, which is the part of the fruit with the highest source of nutrients and antioxidants.

Eating apples may provide fat...in a good way.

Brown fat, also called brown adipose tissue, is a type of good fat in the human body and other mammals. It is, unfortunately, not as abundant as white fat. White fat is the bad fat that stores excess calories we consume. Brown fat does the opposite and actually burns calories to produce heat in the body. One study found that a compound in apple peels boosted brown fat and reduced obesity in mice.

Eating apples may be good for your gut.

Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that may lower blood pressure, glucose levels and bad cholesterol levels.

Pectin may also treat digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may also reduce inflammation associated with diarrhea and colitis. One study revealed that rats who ate more apples had larger amounts of beneficial bacteria in their digestive tracts, largely due to the pectin.

Apples are also a great source of fiber, which may help prevent constipation, soothe digestive disorders and even help prevent colorectal cancer.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the essential vitamins and minerals in one large, raw apple (with skin). These are general nutritional values based on any variety of apple.

  • Calcium, 13 mg. An adult between 19-50 years of age (male or female) in general should aim to have about 1,000 mg. of calcium per day. This mineral is needed to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also needed for clotting of the blood to stop bleeding and for proper functioning of the nerves, muscles and heart. The National Cancer Institute conducted a study that monitored calcium intake in 135,000 men and women. The subjects who had a calcium intake of more than 700 mg. per day had a 35-45% reduced risk of cancer of the distal (lower) part of the colon than those who had a calcium intake of 500 mg. or less per day. 
  • Magnesium, 11 mg. This must-have mineral helps with blood pressure regulation and also has antioxidant properties. Several studies have also shown an improvement in the severity of symptoms of depression when study participants were given 125-300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime. 
  • Phosphorus, 25 mg. This mineral works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. It is also needed to help balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium and zinc. 
  • Potassium, 239 mg. There’s a surprising connection with the liver and potassium. Liver injury or infection causes patients to urinate their potassium out. When the liver heals, the potassium levels start to go back up. This has implications for people with chronic liver problems, in terms of both diet as well as use of medications, since very low potassium levels can be more dangerous than the liver problem alone. Potassium may also help keep blood pressure under control and may even help reduce kidney stones and bone loss as you age. 
  • Vitamin C, 10.3 mg. You likely know about the immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C, but what about this nutrient’s importance regarding aging? Click here to find out.
  • Folate, 7 mcg. Folate (also called vitamin B9) is a very important nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Folate may also help prevent cancer and heart disease and improve mental health. A study from Harvard Health reported folate may also be useful in treating symptoms of depression. 
  • Vitamin A, 120 IU. This vitamin is an antioxidant that supports the immune system and is good for skin and eye health. Vitamin A also promotes cell growth.
  • Vitamin K, 4.9 mcg. This vitamin is very important, as it helps regulate normal blood clotting. It also helps to transport calcium throughout the body, so it is very important for bone health.

Bear in mind that crushed or chewed apple seeds release a poison called cyanide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1-2 mg/kg is a fatal oral dose of cyanide for about a 154 pound person. This means you would have to chew about 200 seeds for a fatal dose. Regardless, it is probably a good idea to steer clear of the seeds.

Apples may also be damaging to tooth enamel. According to a study, eating apples may be four times more damaging than drinking carbonated drinks. This does not mean you should miss out on eating this healthy, delicious fruit. The key is to avoid eating apples throughout the day. Eat an apple in one sitting and move on with your day. Drink water as you eat an apple, which will help mitigate some of the acidic effect on your teeth.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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