By Isadora Baum
Apples are right in season for fall, with several apple varieties to choose from, like Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Mcintosh, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and more.
And whether you make an applesauce for a light snack, apple juice or apple cider to sip on, whole apples are great to enjoy anytime of the day for promoting better gut bacteria, heart health, weight loss, and lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, among other health benefits.
Yet, remember to eat the whole fruit, which means the apple peel or skin, as the apple skins contain pectin, a type of fiber shown to benefit your gut microbiota and to keep you fuller longer. Here’s how eating apples can improve your health and immune system, in addition to just tasting crunchy, clean, and delicious.
There’s Fiber to Fill You Up
“A medium apple offers over 4 grams of fiber, including soluble fiber, which is the type that dissolves in digestive liquids into a gel-like substance, which slows movement of food through the digestive tract, helping promote feelings of fullness,” says Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN.
That will prevent you from snacking mindlessly and will keep appetite suppressed. Plus, it also helps you stay regular and avoid constipation, she adds. Yet, eat the apple peel, since that’s where pectin (aka fiber) is.
It Keeps Blood Sugar Balanced
“The same soluble fiber that helps promote fullness also slows the absorption of the energy in apples, from the intestines into the bloodstream,” she says. This allows for a more consistent energy release to support a healthy blood sugar level and to avoid spikes and a subsequent crash afterwards.
Plus, if you eat apples for something sweet, you’re getting natural sugar, rather than processed sweeteners found in baked goods, soda, and more. Eating natural sugar when you can will lower risk of obesity, aid in type 2 diabetes, and can help you eat more healthy foods in general.
It Improves Your Heart Health
“The soluble fiber in apples also has the ability to bind to and help excrete cholesterol from the digestive tract, benefiting those with high blood cholesterol levels,” she says. That means you are getting in more healthy gut microbiota for your body, which can improve your immune system overall too. Plus, eating apples can also be good for your heart health, lowering risk of stroke, heart disease, and blood pressure and cholesterol issues. The antioxidant activity found in apples also assists in protecting your ticker long-term. “Couple this with the antioxidant polyphenols in apples and they’re great to support the cardiovascular system,” she adds.
It Adds Healthy Bacteria to Your Digestive Tract
“Soluble fiber is also fermentable, meaning when it makes its way to the lower digestive tract, healthy bacteria can feed off of it,” she says. So, eating apples will protect gut microbiota, as it’s a type of prebiotic that helps probiotics work more efficiently. “This helps promote a favorable balance of bacteria to support the microbiome, which impacts immunity, metabolism, antioxidant function, mood and more,” she adds.
May Help Aid in Lung Health
Whole apples might be able to provide health benefits to those with lung conditions, such as asthma. “The phytochemical quercetin is found in apples and has research showing it can help lessen symptoms for those with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD,” she says. “And eating apples has also been found to benefit acute lung injury caused by smoking and viruses,” she adds.