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Apples: The Forgotten Superfood

It’s no wonder why apples are such a popular fruit: they’re crunchy, juicy, sweet, and tart, and they have a reputation for being good for us. Most people have a favorite variety—maybe yours is McIntosh, Jonagold, or Granny Smith—but all apples have some important things in common: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and polyphenols. Apples contain vitamin E and potassium—nutrients that are especially important for heart health. They also have small but notable amounts of B vitamins and calcium. Their fiber, which includes both insoluble fibers like cellulose and soluble fibers like pectin, makes them a prebiotic food, helping to support healthy colonies of friendly gut bacteria. Pectin is reported to have cholesterol lowering and blood sugar stabilizing effects as well. Apples also have plant chemicals known as polyphenols, which are found mainly in the peels. Polyphenols provide apples with their color and flavor and protect the fruit from light damage, fungi, and insects. When we eat whole, unpeeled apples, their polyphenols act as powerful antioxidants that contribute to many of apples’ health benefits.

Eating an apple a day may indeed help keep the doctor away. In one study, people who ate 2 to 7 apples per week were found to have a 27 to 28% lower risk of diabetes compared with people who didn’t eat apples. Several studies have found that people who eat apples have a lower risk of heart disease, one of the most pressing health concerns for people with diabetes.

Eating more apples can be easy and delicious. Cutting a fresh, unpeeled apple into your morning bowl of oatmeal adds color and tang to breakfast. Biting into a whole apple is a juicy way to satisfy a midday craving. Because apples are both sweet and tart, they’re also a perfect complement to savory dishes like salads, stews, and casseroles.

Source: Nutrients

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