All About Apples

Here in New York, we’re at the height of the glorious apple season and you almost can’t help but have an apple a day. Thankfully, it turns out that the old adage might be true. An apple a day may, in fact, keep the doctor away.

But even when it comes to something as common as eating an apple, there are many opinions. What are the health benefits? Are there any concerns when it comes to toxins? Is it better to juice the fruit or just bite right in?


Packed With Goodness

Apples are, on several levels, nutritional powerhouses. Although they’re low in total calories, the high-fiber fruit can help to fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied longer than a less substantial snack. All that fiber can also help you lower your cholesterol, keep your heart healthy and improve digestion.

While it’s true, and worth noting, that fiber could help you lose weight by means of appetite control, apples might help you slim down another way: ursolic acid. This compound has been found to increase metabolism, burning more fat and building more, in mice. Of course, more human studies are needed to confirm and fully understand these results but eating more apples won’t do you any harm.

In fact, your entire body could thank you for it. The specialized antioxidant called quercetin can improve respiratory problems, including asthma, while the vitamin C and army of other antioxidants may boost your immune system.

All those helpful substances could even prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Even your brain can benefit from your daily apple, since the fruit spikes your levels of acetylcholine, improving memory and lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.


Whole or Juiced?

With all that apples have to offer, it makes sense to try to cram down as many as possible, as often as possible. And juicing offers many opportunities to sneak fruits into your day so, it’s often assumed that you should opt for juicing.

Unfortunately, most of the benefits of apples are associated with the skin, which is removed when you juice. Losing the majority of your fiber content could do more than just limit how many antioxidants you get, though. That fiber found in the skin and pulp of the apple slows down your absorption of all that sugar, causing a spike in insulin and the resultant crash.

But there’s also good reason to fear the nutrient-rich skin: pesticides. Apples have, year after year, topped the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list for pesticide-contaminated foods. The solution, then, is to opt for organic apples. They may be a little more expensive but your entire body will thank you for a burst of toxin-free nutrients.




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About jonathan.thompson

Jonathan Thompson is a Certified Personal Trainer and Running Coach with the American Council on Exercise, specializing in nutrition. In addition to his real-world experience working with clients, his articles and blogs on fitness advice have been published on many websites and magazines.