Nutrition / Food

5 Reasons You Should Add Apples to Your Daily Diet

They improve gut health and help with weight management.

There’s a reason that everyone says, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are one of the healthiest foods you can keep in your kitchen, thanks to all their fiber and other numerous vitamins and minerals. In addition to being a nutrient-dense snack, apples can also be utilized in a number of different meals, everything from dessert to salads and more.

“Apples are loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and B vitamins,” says Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD. “They are also low in sodium and fat. Fiber, specifically, is helpful for weight management, because it helps fill you up, keeping you fuller longer and satiated. It is also helpful for keeping your digestive system on track.” Apples may not be the trendiest superfood, but they are a tried and true ingredient that can provide major health benefits—and they won’t break the bank. Here’s everything you need to know about the nutrition in apples.

Nutrition Facts (1 medium apple)

Calories 95
Total Fat .3 g
Saturated fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Sodium 2 mg
Potassium 195 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary fiber 4.4 g
Sugar 19 g
Protein .47 g
Calcium 11 mg
Iron .22 mg
Magnesium 9 mg
Phosphorus 20 mg
Zinc .07 mg
Vitamin C 8.4 mg
Thiamin .031 mg
Riboflavin .047 mg
Niacin .166 mg
Vitamin B-6 .075 mg
Folate 24 5 µg
Vitamin A, RAE 5 µg
Vitamin A, IU 98 IU
Vitamin E .33 mg
Vitamin K 4 µg

(Source USDA)

They are high in fiber

Apples are a quick, nutrient-dense way to increase your daily dose of fiber. “The standard daily recommendation for fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men,” says Kristin Koskinen, RDN, CE. “However, most people fall far short of that goal.” Fiber is an important nutrient, as it is helpful for proper bowel health, maintaining blood sugar levels, and promoting weight loss.

They help improve gut health

The skin of an apple contains insoluble fiber, which can help improve your digestion and make going to the bathroom easier. “Insoluble fiber also acts as food for the friendly bacteria of the gut, which are responsible for not only intestinal health, but vitamin production, protection against pathogenic microbes, and regulation of the feel-good hormone serotonin,” says Koskinen.

They help fight disease

“Apples contain quercetin, a flavonoid that has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-carcinogenic,” says Koskinen. Since quercetin is found mostly under the skin, it’s important to keep this in mind if you normally peel your apples. “People concerned about pesticides in produce may remove the skins of apples to minimize their toxin load, but, instead, I recommend buying organic apples,” she says.

They help with weight management

This fiber-rich fruit is a great food to incorporate if you’re trying to lose weight. “Apples are a major source of polyphenols, fiber, carotenoids, and other nutrients—including potassium, calcium, and water,” says Koskinen. “Although weight loss is often attributed to the fiber, water, and relatively-low calorie load offered by apples, it’s when people eat whole apples before a meal that we see weight loss results, not when they eat the individual components, such as drinking more water. I have seen consistently good results with clients making the single change of eating an apple before meals.”

They promote healthy skin and bones.

Apples contain the trace mineral boron, which plays a critical role in a variety of functions, including bone metabolism. “Boron deficiency adversely impacts bone development and regeneration,” says Koskinen. “In addition to its bone supporting qualities, boron is necessary for the production and metabolism of vitamin D and sex steroids, wound healing, and absorption of calcium and magnesium.”

Fall Apple Salad

Whip up this easy salad that incorporates apples for a quick dose of the important fruit.

(recipe from Kale Me Maybe; serves 1)

Ingredients:

Salad

¼ cup chickpeas
1-½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups roughly chopped kale
1 small sweet potato, diced
½ gala apple, chopped
½ avocado, diced

Honey Mustard Dressing

1 teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon raw wild honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Prepare chickpeas by preheating oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread chickpeas onto an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil (option to sprinkle on spices of choice—I like to use garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, etc.). Toss with your hands until they’re evenly coated. Then, bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp.
  2. While chickpeas are roasting, add kale leaves to a big bowl, and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Massage kale with your hands to soften.
  3. In a medium cast iron skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. Add sweet potatoes, cover, and cook for about seven to eight minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  4. Prepare dressing by mixing mustard, honey, and apple cider vinegar together in a small bowl until smooth.
  5. Add sweet potatoes to the salad along with chickpeas, apple, and avocado. Top with dressing and toss.

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