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Nutrition

Boron


The mineral boron is key to building muscle and strong bones. Our bodies don’t produce it, so the best way to get more boron is through our food. Boron helps the body to absorb calcium and magnesium important to bone health. It also appears to affect estrogen and testosterone, both of which also affect bones.

Apples are one of the top food sources of boron.

Eat apples and other boron-rich foods to:

  • Treat some forms of arthritis.
  • Manage osteoporosis.
  • Prevent tooth decay.
  • Reduce menopausal symptoms and increase sex drive in women.
  • Enhance testosterone levels in men.

Calories


Calories are the unit of measure we use to count the energy provided by food. Our bodies need to consume some calories of course, to fuel all our body’s work. The problem is that these days, many of us consume more calories than we can use. Unused calories get stored as fat, which contributes to overweight, obesity and weight-related conditions and diseases. One pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories.

One medium, baseball-sized apple contains only 80 calories, and is loaded with fiber and water, and is packed with nutrients and phytonutrients.

Eating apples as part of a healthy diet can help to:

  • Lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid diet-related diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
  • Maintain a healthy energy level, without blood sugar spikes.

Carbohydrates and Fructose


Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Your body converts the glucose in carbohydrates into the fuel it needs to work. Carbohydrates take the form of sugars (fructose, glucose and galactose), dietary fibers and starches.

Apples contain fructose, also found in other plant foods, as well as in honey. While consuming sugar alone can cause blood glucose spikes – energy highs and lows – the fructose in apples is packaged with fiber. The fiber acts like a time-release mechanism to avoid those spikes and provide a level energy source.

Eating the healthy, fiber-full carbohydrates in apples can:

Cholesterol


Your body needs cholesterol to work properly – but only a small amount. Too much cholesterol can cause health problems such as plaque build-up in arteries.

Apples are naturally cholesterol-free.

Eating cholesterol-free apples as part of a low-fat diet helps to:

  • Reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which can lead to heart disease.

Dietary Fiber


Fiber from plant foods such as apples helps keep food moving efficiently through your digestive system. So Grandma was right: eat apples for regularity.

Apples are an excellent source of fiber, delivering 20 percent of the daily recommended amount in one medium apple. Each apple contains two types of fiber:

  • Insoluble fiber (70%), to add bulk to stools.
  • Soluble fiber (primarily pectin), which absorbs water to make you feel full faster, and binds with cholesterol and sweep it out of the body.
    • Pectin is a prebiotic – that is, it provides food for the friendly bacteria in our gut.

Eating high-fiber apples and/or a fiber-rich diet helps prevent:

  • Blood sugar spikes that can happen when eating sugar alone, without fiber.
  • Digestive problems, including constipation and hemorrhoids.
  • Heart disease, by lowering your cholesterol.
  • Diabetes, by helping to control blood sugar levels.
  • Common types of cancers, by binding or diluting carcinogens and other potential toxins.

Eating pectin and other prebiotics specifically can:

  • Increase friendly gut bacteria, more so than probiotics.
  • Improve digestive health, which in turn enhances our quality of life as we age.
  • Enhance immune function. 

Fats


Fat is essential to your health; for example, fat cushions your organs. Some vitamins and phytochemicals even need fat to be absorbed by your body. However, fats are high calorie compared to other nutrients. And some fats (the unsaturated ones) are good for your health; others (saturated fats) are not.

Apples are naturally fat-free – no saturated fat, no trans fat.

Eating fat-free apples as part of a low-fat diet helps to:

  • Reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
  • Protect against heart disease.
  • Lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight – and reduce the risk of diet-related diseases including diabetes.

Potassium


(Note: Apples are not a major source of potassium.)
This is a multi-function mineral. Most important, it literally helps your heart to beat! It also helps your muscles to function, kidneys to filter blood, regulates bodily fluids, and more.

Apples contain small amounts of potassium; one medium apple has 5 percent of the daily recommended amount.

Eating a potassium and/or a potassium-rich diet helps to:

  • Control blood pressure, by lessening the effects of sodium.
  • Prevent kidney stones, by binding with calcium to prevent stone from developing.
  • Protect bones by neutralizing acids that would remove calcium from the body.

Sodium


Sodium, or salt, is a mineral that our bodies need to function, including to contract and relax muscles, and to transmit nerve impulses. Problem is, too much salt negatively affects your body’s fluid balance, and can lead to serious health problems. Most of us are consuming too much sodium, more than the recommended 1,500 milligrams per day (that’s less than 3/4 teaspoon).

Apples are 100 percent sodium-free.

Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet – such as by eating apples and other fresh foods, and avoiding processed foods – helps to:

  • Prevent or control high blood pressure.
  • Prevent heart disease and stroke.
  • Protect your kidneys.
  • Avoid unhealthy fluid retention, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Vitamin C, antioxidants and phtyochemicals


(Note: Apples are not a major source of Vitamin C.)

Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, is a health and nutrition powerhouse. It is also a natural antioxidant, fighting the damaging effects on the body of oxidative stress. Antioxidants protect our immune and cardiovascular systems, our eyes, even our skin.

Apples contain only a small amount of vitamin C. However, Cornell University research suggests that the apple phytochemical quercetin may have as much antioxidant capacity as a 1,500 milligram megadose of vitamin C.

Apples and other plants produce phytochemicals for a range of purposes, including protecting them from pests and diseases. When that plant is then eaten, those phytochemicals may provide a range of health benefits to humans.

Apples are a rich source of phytochemicals, and contain a wide variety of them. Apple phytochemicals that have made headlines include the flavonoids quercetin and cyanidin. Apples are a significant source of flavonoids in the American diet.

Eating vitamin C and other apple antioxidants – from food sources, rather than supplements – helps to:

  • Lower the risk of cancers triggered by oxidative stress.
  • Reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress, including Parkinsons and Alzheimers.
  • Inhibit oxidation of the “bad” LDL cholesterol, so that it can’t form plaque in arteries.

But wait, there's more!


Apples also contain a number of nutrients that aren't listed on the Nutrition Facts box, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database for Standard Reference:

  • Beta-carotene: 41 μg
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: 45 μg
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1): 0.026 mg
  • Vitamin A equiv: 4 μg
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 0.04 mg
  • Niacin (vitamin B3): 0.14 mg
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 0.094 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.063 mg
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 5 μg
  • Vitamin E: 0.28 mg
  • Vitamin K: 3.4 μg
  • Magnesium: 8 mg
  • Manganese: 0.054 mg
  • Phosphorus: 17 mg