Apples are one of my favourite fruits. They are versatile, portable, inexpensive, and unlike a lot of other fruit, they store really well. They also have quite a few surprising health benefits. There’s good reason why we have the saying: An Apple a Day Keeps The Doctor Away.
Let’s look at some of the ways you and your family could benefit from eating apples regularly.
Apples Can Help You Lose Weight Safely
Apples make for a great snack. This humble little fruit is packed full of fibre and includes a lot of water for hydration (which makes it great for lunchboxes). Both of these help you stay fuller longer.
Try this quick weight loss tip: Twenty minutes before you sit down for one of your main meals, eat a small to medium sized apple. Leave the skin on to make sure you get the maximum amount of fibre and all the nutrition just below!
By eating an apple before your main meal and leaving a little time in between the two, you’re starting to fill your stomach with a healthy food and you’re giving your body time to realise that there’s food in your stomach. By the time you’re ready to sit down for your main meal, you’re not nearly as hungry as you were twenty minutes ago. This is important because it will keep you from overeating and gives you the will power to stop eating when you’re satisfied.
All in all, you end up eating a lot less. And since that apple was packed with lots of water and fibre, it will help keep you full longer. Plus it’s one of the fruits that’s lowest in fruit sugar… so I always recommend them as part of a healthy eating programme. Win!
Apples Can Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease
The fibre in apples is soluble fibre. This is a great substance that mat help lower cholesterol, by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your bowel. It works the same way that a bowl of porridge oats you have for breakfast. In fact, try adding some finely chopped apple to your breakfast for added sweetness! Do also try to keep the skin – there’s lots of the amazing apple pectin fibre right under the skin. This amazing soluble fibre is so good for us and for helping to keep our bowels regular and to help support the growth of the good guys in your gut. Supplement companies are even bottling up apple pectin because it’s so good for us!
Apples May Reduce Your Risk For Diabetes
People who eat apples on a regular basis, have a lower risk for developing diabetes. Part of that is due to the fact that the fibre in apples keeps us full longer. The phytonutrients, antioxidants and other nutrients in apples all seem to have a positive effect on our body and how it processes food.
Apples Boost your Immune System
Going back to school means exposure to all sort of bugs and germs. Help your kids to avoid an early season cold by adding apples to their daily diet. Apples are packed with vitamin C which helps boost the immune system and fight off infection. That’s why you’re told to take vitamin C or drink orange juice when you feel a cold coming on. As it turns out, apples are vitamin C power houses. Eat one per day during cold and flu season to give your immune system that extra little boost.
The soluble fibre in apples also helps to support a healthy gut and good levels of gut bacteria, which are also important for your immune strength. During the colder months, I love giving me and the kids stewed apples for breakfast, with lots of cinnamon for blood sugar support, and some plain yoghurt and almonds on top for added protein. Stewed apples have been tested in research for their effects on beneficial gut bacteria… just a few weeks of stewed apples can help to support a healthier balance of gut bacteria.
Apples Could Reduce Risks for Certain Cancers
Some research shows that apples may even help prevent some types of cancer. That’s pretty amazing for one little humble fruit. Apples like many other fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants. Those little compounds attach themselves and neutralize cancer causing free radicals. The soluble fibre in apples also helps to keep your digestive system healthy and support levels of beneficial bacteria, which may help to reduce your risk of colon and other cancers.
If eating fresh apples day after day gets a little boring, there are plenty of ways to use this lovely fruit. Try…
- Adding some apple to a smoothie
- Grating apple onto your morning breakfast cereal or into your porridge
- Adding chopped apple to your lunchtime salad, or for dipping into hummus
- Stew or bake apples for a delicious and comforting dessert or tasty breakfast
- Use apples to make crumbles or to add sweetness to cakes – there’s nothing better than a delicious apple crumble or apple cake in the oven to fill your house with delicious smells.
Feeling peckish? Check out Catherine’s low sugar apple crumble recipe.
Catherine Jeans is a nutritionist based in Norfolk. She is known as The Family Nutrition Expert and has featured as nutritional expert in numerous publications including the Sunday Telegraph. Catherine is author of the 30 Day Sugar Detox Programme.