We have all heard the saying so many times before: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. And with good reason as apples are beneficial in maintaining your health.
The phytonutrients in apples can help you regulate your blood sugar. In addition, the polyphenols in apples have been shown to lessen absorption of glucose from the digestive tract; to stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin; and to increase uptake of glucose from the blood via stimulation of insulin receptors. All of these mechanisms triggered by apple polyphenols can make it easier for you to regulate your blood sugar.
The whole food form of apples is also important if you want full satisfaction from eating them. Researchers have recently compared intake of whole apples to intake of applesauce and apple juice, only to discover that people report less hunger (and better satiety, or food satisfaction) after eating whole apples than after eating applesauce or drinking apple juice. But especially interesting was an additional finding about calorie intake following apple consumption.
When healthy adults consumed one medium-sized apple approximately 15 minutes before a meal, their caloric intake at that meal decreased by an average of 15%. Since meals in this study averaged 1,240 calories, a reduction of 15% meant a reduction of 186 calories, or about 60 more calories than contained in a medium apple.
For these researchers, “getting ahead” in calories with a net reduction of 60 calories was a welcomed outcome of the study, and an extra benefit to their study’s primary conclusion -the importance of whole apples (versus other more processed apple forms) in helping us manage our hunger and feeling more satisfied with our food.
Scientists have recently shown that important health benefits of apples may stem from their impact on bacteria in the digestive tract.
In studies on laboratory animals, intake of apples is now known to significantly alter amounts of two bacteria (Clostridiales and Bacteriodes) in the large intestine.
As a result of these bacterial changes, metabolism in the large intestine is also changed, and many of these changes appear to provide health benefits. Several anti-cancer studies show daily intake of this fruit to provide better anti-cancer benefits than lesser amounts. So there may be some truth to that old phrase.
It is recommended that everyone eat at least 2-3 whole fresh fruits per day, or the equivalent of 2-3 cups’ worth of fresh fruit.
Within this framework, if apples are a type of fruit that you strongly prefer, there would be nothing wrong with consuming one on a daily basis, and you may get some special health benefits by doing so.