Apple Benefits

Apple
Latin Name

Malus domestica

Origin

Central Asia

Parts Used

Fruit

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

The apple is the epitome of healing foods – long known for its many benefits to human health. The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, coined in 1913, comes from a much older Welsh saying, “"Eat an apple on going to bed and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread”.

Unsurprisingly, the apple is packed with phytonutrients, fibre, vitamins and minerals that promote overall vibrant health. Even the action of biting and chewing an apple can lead to whiter teeth and stronger gums.

Apple Benefits

Digestive Health

The pulp and peel of apples are a rich source of a soluble fibre known as “pectin”. Whilst it isn’t classed as a laxative, it does prevent constipation by absorbing water in the digestive tract which bulks up stools. This allows for the smoother movement of waste from the body.

The pectin in apples also acts as a prebiotic – this is a fibre that is undigested by the gut and intestines and upon reaching the colon it feeds the friendly gut bacteria, allowing their numbers to flourish. Consequently, the good bacteria overwhelm the bad bacteria which helps to create the optimum environment for good digestion and nutrient uptake.

By promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and absorbing fluid in the intestines, apple pectin can also help prevent and relieve diarrhoea. Two studies on a total of 119 children with ongoing diarrhoea found that apple pectin was found to effectively alleviate symptoms.

Apple Cider Vinegar

For heartburn (acid reflux), Organic Apple Cider Vinegar that contains the “mother” can be very useful. Apple cider vinegar is made from crushed apples that have bacteria and yeast added to ferment the liquid. It contains a wealth of live enzymes that can help with digestion and as such, act as a preventative for acid reflux. Contrary to popular belief, acid reflux is caused by too little – not too much stomach acid. A deficiency in stomach acid slows down digestion, causing food and a little stomach acid to rise back up the oesophagus which leads to heartburn. Because apple cider vinegar has a similar Ph to stomach acid, a teaspoon consumed 30 minutes before a meal will ensure there is a sufficient amount of stomach acid to promote proper digestion, thus helping to prevent heartburn.

Healthy Weight Loss

Low in calories, high in fibre and at around 85 percent water, apples leave you feeling fuller for longer and can help to reduce calorie intake.

Furthermore, the high concentration of pectin in apples can delay stomach emptying, effectively doubling the time it takes. Researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro studying the impact of fruit intake on weight loss report that overweight women who ate just 300g of apples or pears, lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn't add fruit to their diet. In addition, the fruit eaters ate fewer calories overall, boosting their weight loss efforts. According to lead researcher Maria Conceicao de Oliveira, "Results indicated that overweight, women have important changes in their body weights and metabolic profiles by adding fruits to their diet."

Heart Health

Studies have shown that phytochemicals, particularly in apple peel, combined with pectin fibre can help to protect against free radical damage in the heart and blood vessels and have cholesterol-lowering effects. A review of five clinical trials noted the effects of apples on cardiovascular disease and found an improvement in cardiovascular parameters (decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol) with intakes of whole fresh apples or dried apples, though not with apple juice.

Another study identified a possible link between the flavonoids found in apples and heart health in post-menopausal women. The results showed that increased consumption of apples may contribute to a decrease in mortality from cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.

Apples also contain polyphenols, many of which are concentrated in the peel, and are powerful antioxidants. These polyphenols include the flavonoid epicatechin which can help to lower blood pressure. In a meta-analysis of studies, it was found that higher consumption of flavonoids were linked to a 20 percent less risk of a stroke.

Asthma / Lung Health

Apples – especially the peel – have been the focus of many studies that positively correlate the fruit with anti-asthma effects and improved lung function. The antioxidant content in the peel of apples is thought to be responsible for its impressive benefit to lung health. One study published in the "American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine," UK researchers reported that adults who ate at least two apples a week reduced their asthma risk by up to a third.

Furthermore, a study of over 13,000 adults in the Netherlands found that apples can beneficially affect lung function, with another study of Welsh middle-aged men backing this up. 2,500 men demonstrated a beneficial effect of apple consumption on lung function.

It is thought that among the many antioxidants in apples, quercetin is the key compound that contributes to lung health. Apples are especially high in quercetin which has been found to decrease lung oxidative stress, lung inflammation and to prevent the progression of emphysema.

Typical Use

Apple Cider Vinegar

Can be used to make a zingy salad dressing or mixed with water (and honey if required) and consumed before a meal to aid digestion.

Organic Apple Rings

Create delicious tarts, pies, cakes and turnovers with delicious Organic Apple Rings.

Folklore and History

Over 10,000 years ago in the Mesolithic Period our stone-age ancestors were happily munching on wild apples, although back then they were much tarter and bitter than today’s modern equivalents.

Steeped in tradition and mystery, although the apple wasn’t specifically mentioned as the forbidden fruit in the bible, it became synonymous with temptation, sin and the fall of man. Apparently, the apple was put into the story by later artists. 

Another interesting fact is that apples don’t grow true from a pip – each apple pip grows up into a unique tree. The only way to get exactly the same apple is to graft a piece of apple wood onto a piece of rootstock, a skill that was known to the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. The Celts were also aware of how to cultivate apples, so sweet apples existed in Britain before the Romans arrived.

Apple
Constituents

Apples constituents include: water, fibre, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals. Phytonutrients include: malic acid, epicatechin, amygdalin, quercetin, pectin, procyanidin and chlorogenic acid.

Precautions

None known.