Packing in quite a bit of soluble fiber (4 grams per medium apple) for a modest amount of calories (95) makes apples a filling, sweet snack.
Plus, a medium apple counts as 1 cup of fruit, so after eating one you’re well on your way to meeting your daily fruit quota (around 2 cups for adults on a 2,000-calorie diet).
They also are a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C (providing 14% of the Daily Value).
Apples satisfy hunger for few calories so it’s not surprising that they can be part of a healthy diet that promotes weight loss. And in a recent study, dried apples also helped participants lose some weight. Women who ate a cup of dried apples daily for a year lost some weight and lowered their cholesterol and heart disease markers. Florida State University researchers think apples’ antioxidants and pectin (a type of fiber) are responsible for the benefits — and think that fresh apples would be even more effective.
The Florida State study is not the only one to link apple consumption to heart health. Last year, the Iowa Women’s Health Study reported that, among the 34,000-plus women it’s been tracking for nearly 20 years, apples were associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Some years earlier, Finnish researchers studying dietary data collected over 28 years from 9,208 men and women found that frequent apple eaters had the lowest risk of suffering strokes compared with nonapple eaters. Experts attribute the heart-healthy benefits to antioxidant compounds found in apples, which help prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and inhibit inflammation. Plus, the soluble fiber in apples has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
Eating an apple before you work out may boost your exercise endurance. Apples deliver an antioxidant called quercetin, which aids endurance by making oxygen more available to the lungs. One study showed that quercetin—when taken in supplement form—helped people bike longer.