Apple is a fruit grown and consumed worldwide due to its delicious taste & texture. It belongs to the family “Rosaceae” and the kingdom “Plantae“.
What is the Nutritional Composition of Apple?
A matured Apple contains 15% total carbohydrates out of which, 3-4 % starch, the rest are pectin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. A total of 10-13% sugar is present, out of which, 1-2% Glucose, 5-7% Fructose, and 3-5% Sucrose is there. It also contains a significant amount of micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, copper, sodium, manganese, etc.
What is the therapeutic Importance of Apple?
Apple contains a variety of bioactive compounds responsible for a number of therapeutic activities such as antioxidants, anti-neurodegenerative, anticancer, and antiobesity activities. Apple fruit exclusively contains malic acid that is claimed to strengthen the heart muscles. Perhaps, this is the reason why Ayurvedic and Unani medical therapy advocates the use of processed apple products such as apple-preserve for heart-related problems.
Let’s discuss, Why anyone should include apples in their diet in chronological order?
1. Heart protection: Apple fruit contains a significant amount of malic acid which is proven to provide strength to the cardiac muscles. A number of studies have shown that apples are better for human health in various aspects. It contains a higher amount of soluble fibers that help to bring down the LDL and improve HDL levels if taken consistently for a significant period. In another study, it has also been reported that apple consumption may help to alleviate the problems of high blood pressure i.e. hypertension which may be, in the future, responsible for cardiovascular diseases and kidney failure.
2. Boosts and Improve Brain Functioning
A group of four large studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in 2017 adds to the evidence that eating a plant-based diet may help prevent dementia. In one of the studies, Swedish researchers following 2,000 people for six years found that those who stuck to a diet called the Nordic Prudent Dietary Pattern (NPDP) had better cognitive function than people who ate more fatty, processed foods. Among other things, the NPDP calls for eating plenty of non-root vegetables, plus pears, peaches and-you guessed it apples.
In another of the studies, healthy older adults who followed either the Mediterranean or MIND diet-both of which stress eating fresh fruits and vegetables-lowered their risk of dementia by 30 to 35 percent. The longer they followed the diet, the better their cognitive function. Experts point out that more research is needed, but the results look promising.
3.Helps You Lose Weight
Due to the presence of soluble fibers, apple reduces constipation and ultimately helps in weight loss. One medium apple can help fill you up for under 100 calories-so it’s no surprise that apples can help with weight loss. Turns out it’s what form of apple you eat that count. In one study, people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller and more satisfied than people who had applesauce, apple juice, or no apples at all. The same study also found that starting a meal with apple slices helped people eat an average of 200 fewer calories compared to those who skipped the apple slices.
What kind of apple you eat may make a difference, too. One intriguing animal study published in Food Chemistry suggests that Granny Smith apples have fewer carbs and more nondigestible compounds-including feel-full fiber compared to McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and other common varieties. The compounds also help feed healthy gut bacteria, potentially lowering the risk of some obesity-related problems.
4. Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes mellitus (Acquired Diabetes)
The numbers speak for themselves. In a study of more than 38,000 healthy women, those who ate one or more apples a day had a 28 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than the non-apple eaters. And in a review of data from more than 187,000 people involved in three long-term studies, Harvard researchers found that people who ate at least two servings a week of blueberries, grapes and-yup-apples lowered their diabetes risk by 23 percent, compared to people who had one serving or less a month. Experts say the fruit’s fiber helps stabilize blood sugar. Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, also play an important role.
5. Fights against Cancer
According to Global Cancer Statistics (GLOBOCAN), cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide where lung cancer is the leading one followed by colorectal cancer. The global burden of cancer may be increased in the future due to the following factors such as unhealthy diet, low physical activity, smoking, etc. So, it is necessary to follow a healthy lifestyle with healthy food i.e. add a suitable amount of fruits, vegetables, and coarse grains to your diet. Among plant-based food, Apple, due to the presence of a significant amount of polyphenols, apples boost immunity thereby reverting the pre-cancer conditions that cause cancer.
Apples rank second only to berries in antioxidants, making them superheroes when it comes to fighting cancer. In fact, an analysis of several Italian studies found that eating one or more servings of apples a day helped lower the risk of colorectal cancer more than eating any other fruit. Other studies in humans have found that eating apples can be helpful in preventing lung and prostate cancer. Don’t toss the peel, though that’s where most of the cancer-fighting antioxidants are found.
Having Apple in your diet is quite challenging for people living in low or lower-middle socio-economic countries. People, due to their low per capita income, can’t afford Apples and other fruits and vegetables. If you are able to purchase then a person must add apples to their diet at least once a week. Lots of programs are running globally to address the issues of food security but there must be few programs of “Nutritional security” to address malnutrition problems in communities at national and international level.
1. International Diabetes Federation.
2. Global Cancer Data Statistics (GLOBOCAN).
3. World Health Organization (WHO).
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