Health Benefits of Apples

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From September through May, apples are the staple fruit that I eat. They’re in season now and then are stored throughout the winter, making them one of the only local fresh fruits I can get in the Northeast.

While they may not seem like nutritional superstars compared to flashier fruits like blueberries and oranges, apples actually deliver a lot of health benefits, making them a fruit that should be in your regular diet too.

1) They're a good source of fiber: Fiber is great for your overall health — it helps keep your blood sugar steady, your colon healthy and your cholesterol levels low. You need 25 grams a day of the stuff if you’re a woman, 38 if you’re a man. A single medium (3 inch) apple delivers 4 grams, half of which comes from the peel, so keep it on!

2) They help you meet your daily fruit quota without breaking the bank: Exotic fruits like goji berries and pomegranate get all the glory for being superfoods, but they’re also expensive. Apples, on the other hand, are relatively inexpensive — you can usually find apples for $1, and sometimes less, per pound. One medium apple counts as a cup and a half of fruit! Since most people need around 2 or so cups of fruit a day, one apple can really help you to meet that goal on a budget.

3) They may protect your heart: Not only do apples contain heart-healthy fiber, they also contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which helps protect against heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

4) They can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight: A medium apple is only 95 calories and gives you those 4 grams of fiber, which helps you feel full. I like to perform the “apple test” — a way to see if you’re truly hungry or just want to eat for other reasons (boredom, annoyance, etc.). If you feel like you want a snack between mealtimes, ask yourself if you want an apple. If an apple seems really appealing, you’re probably truly hungry. If instead you’re thinking, no, I’d really just like some chips or cookies, then maybe you’re not.

5) They’re a good source of vitamin C: This might surprise you, but a medium apple gives you 13% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your skin against sun damage and wards off some diseases.

6) They may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes: A new study out of Harvard found that people who ate two servings of blueberries, grapes or apples each week had lower risk  of diabetes compared with those who ate less than one serving of these fruits a month.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutrition coach who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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