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Apples 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

5 min read

Apples are among the world’s most popular fruits.

They grow on the apple tree (Malus domestica), originally from Central Asia.

Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. They are also very filling, considering their low calorie count. Studies show that eating apples can have multiple benefits for your health (12Trusted Source3Trusted Source4Trusted Source).

Usually eaten raw, apples can also be used in various recipes, juices, and drinks. Various types abound, with a variety of colors and sizes.

This article tells you everything you need to know about apples.

Apple nutrition facts

Here are the nutrition facts for one raw, unpeeled, medium-sized apple (100 grams):

  • Calories: 52
  • Water: 86%
  • Protein: 0.3 grams
  • Carbs: 13.8 grams
  • Sugar: 10.4 grams
  • Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

Carbs in apples

Apples are mainly composed of carbs and water. They’re rich in simple sugars, such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose.

Despite their high carb and sugar contents, their glycemic index (GI) is low, ranging 29–44 (5).

The GI is a measure of how food affects the rise in blood sugar levels after eating. Low valuesare associated with various health benefits (6Trusted Source).

Due to their high fiber and polyphenol counts, fruits often have a low GI score (7Trusted Source).

Fiber

Apples are very rich in fiber. A single medium-sized apple (100 grams) contains about 4 grams of this nutrient, which is 17% of the Daily Value (DV).

A portion of their fiber comes from insoluble and soluble fibers called pectin. Soluble fiber is associated with numerous health benefits, partly because it feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut (8910Trusted Source).

Fiber may also help improve fullness and cause weight loss while lowering blood sugar levels and boosting digestive function (11).

SUMMARY: Apples are mainly made up of carbs and water. They also contain fiber, which moderates blood sugar levels and promotes gut health.

Vitamins and minerals

Apples boast many vitamins and minerals, though not in high amounts. However, apples are usually a good source of vitamin C.

  • Vitamin C. Also called ascorbic acid, this vitamin is a common antioxidant in fruits. It’s an essential dietary nutrient that has many important functions in your body (12Trusted Source).
  • Potassium. The main mineral in apples, potassium may benefit heart health when consumed in high amounts.

SUMMARY: Apples are not particularly rich in vitamins and minerals. However, they contain decent amounts of both vitamin C and potassium.

Other plant compounds

Apples are high in various antioxidant plant compounds, which are responsible for many of their health benefits. These include (3Trusted Source13):

  • Quercetin. A nutrient that also occurs in many plant foods, quercetin may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, and antidepressant effects, according to animal studies (14Trusted Source15Trusted Source16Trusted Source17).
  • Catechin. A natural antioxidant, catechin is also present in large amounts in green tea and has been shown to improve brain and muscle function in animal studies (18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).
  • Chlorogenic acid. Also found in coffee, chlorogenic acid has been found to lower blood sugar and cause weight loss in some studies (20Trusted Source).
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SUMMARY: Apples are a good source of several antioxidants, including quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid. These plant compounds are responsible for many of apples’ benefits.

Apples and weight loss

Two properties of apples — their high fiber and low calorie contents — make them a weight-loss-friendly food.

Thus, eating apples may reduce your daily calorie intake and promote long-term weight loss (2122Trusted Source).

In one 12-week study, women who were instructed to eat 1.5 large apples (300 grams) per day lost 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) over the course of the study (23).

For this reason, this fruit may be a useful addition to a weight loss diet, especially if eaten between or before meals.

SUMMARY: Apples may compliment a healthy weight loss diet largely due to their high fiber and low calorie counts.

Health benefits of apples

Given the immense popularity of apples, it unsurprising that they’ve been studied quite thoroughly (4Trusted Source).

Blood sugar control and type 2 diabetes

Some evidence suggests that eating apples can help lower blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes (23).

Some of the antioxidants in apples may also slow down your digestion and absorption of sugars (24).

In one study in 38,018 women, eating 1 or more apples per day was linked to a 28% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (25Trusted Source).

Blood cholesterol and heart disease

Several studies have examined apples’ effects on risk factors for heart disease.

A hamster study suggested that apples can reduce total cholesterol levels and lead to drastic reductions of 48% in plaque buildup inside the arteries (26Trusted Source).

A human study in Finland showed that those who consumed more than 1.9 ounces (54 grams) of apples per day were at a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease.

Specifically, the risk of dying from heart disease was 43% lower in women and 19% in men (27Trusted Source).

Cancer

Many test-tube and animal studies suggest that apple phytonutrients can protect against cancers of the lungs and colon (28Trusted Source29Trusted Source30Trusted Source).

Potential evidence exists from studies in people as well.

One study indicated that those who consumed 1 or more apples per day were at a lower risk of cancer, including a 20% and 18% lower risk of colorectal and breast cancers, respectively (31Trusted Source).

SUMMARY: Some studies indicate that apples may help protect against diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Potential downsides

Apples are generally well tolerated.

However, they may cause problems for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because they contain FODMAPs, a wide category of fibers that cause digestive symptoms, including gas and abdominal pain, in some people (32Trusted Source).

Their fructose content may also be problematic for people with fructose intolerance.

SUMMARY: Apples are generally considered healthy but may cause digestive problems in some people.

The bottom line

Apples are healthy, tasty, and among the most popular fruits in the world.

Although they are not particularly rich in vitamins and minerals, they’re a good source of fibers and antioxidants.

Apples may have several benefits, including improved heart health and a lower risk of cancer and diabetes. They may also aid weight loss.

If you want to eat healthy, apples are an excellent choice.

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