Fall is synonymous with apple season! Did you know that this tasty fruit also has numerous health benefits?
Apples are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Apple consumption may reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and stroke. Several animal studies have also linked apples to providing protection from dementia.
The dietary fiber contained in apples has the health benefit of lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, and numerous published studies associate the consumption of two or more apples every day with a reduction in colorectal cancer risk.
Dietary fiber can act in several ways to lower cancer risk, including helping with weight control, as excess body fat can increase the risk of 10 different cancers. It can also increase the feeling of fullness, helping you to eat less.
Pectin, a major portion of apples’ dietary fiber, is another benefit. The beneficial bacteria in the colon use pectin to produce compounds that protect colon cells.
Although they are not vitamins, it’s been proven that phytonutrients are beneficial for human health. Apples contain a variety of phytonutrients that scientists are studying for their anti-cancer effects. The peel of the apple contains a third or more of its phytochemical compounds. Research has shown that it is not just one phytonutrient that provides anti-cancer properties, but many, so it is important to eat the skin as well!
Registered dietitian Barbara Walsh is the community nutrition educator at the Tevis Center for Wellness.