Scented, with a juicy and tasty pulp and a colorful peel, which ranges from yellow to red and orange to green, we are talking about the apple. The apple is a practical fruit to take with you, the anti-hunger snack when you are travelling, at work or at school and you can really find it everywhere. There are no supermarkets or greengrocers that are not stocked with apples, and even of different varieties, for all tastes. But the apple is not only a tasty snack, this fruit is also a valuable source of health properties, as we will see today based on the most recent research performed on this topic. After all, popular wisdom also says it, an apple a day keeps the doctor away...
The apple provides vitamins, such as C and E, which are antioxidants and capable of supporting our immune system, and B6, which participates in the metabolism of amino acids and in the formation of hormones, white and red blood cells, and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese, but also fibers, including pectin. Not only that, in the apple we find malic, tartaric and citric acids, which support the liver in digestive processes. Finally, the apple is also an important source of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins in red apples, and phenolic compounds, with an antioxidant action (Oyenihi et al, J Food Sci, 2022).
Apples for heart health
Eating apples is good for heart health. Indeed, the intake of the whole fruit has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and calcification of the aorta, which is considered a predictive factor for the development of heart disease, as well as for the development of dementia (Sandoval Ramirex et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2020). Including 100/150 grams of apples in your daily diet helps to decrease total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation and to increase good HDL cholesterol (Sandoval Ramirex et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2020 ). As far as inflammation is concerned, which can worsen cardiovascular diseases, if they already exist, or cause their development, it has been observed that taking 3 apples of the Gala variety per day for 6 months has made it possible to significantly reduce the pro inflammatory substances caused by overweight and obesity, with important benefits for the heart (Liddle et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2021).
Apples against cellular degeneration
Apples are a rich source of phenolic compounds that have a protective action on the heart and lungs, reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and asthma, but also on the health of the entire body, counteracting the formation of tumors. The latter effect occurs through various mechanisms, such as an inhibition of tumor proliferation and angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels to feed the tumor, and an increase in apoptosis, or programmed death of diseased cells (Nezbedova et al, Nutrients, 2021). Apples also have a prebiotic action, i.e. capable of supporting the intestinal microbiota and promoting the release of short-chain fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory substances and useful for reducing the risk of developing colon cancer (Nezbedova et al, Nutrients, 2021).
Apples for the brain
Well, apples are not only beneficial for the heart and against tumors, apples also protect the brain! In particular, a very recent scientific study observed that quercetin, an antioxidant of the peel, and a substance contained in the pulp of the apple, 3,5 dihydroxybenzoic acid, stimulate brain plasticity, which is the adaptation action of the brain to external stimuli. This action was found to be particularly effective in the hippocampus area, which is the brain area responsible for learning and memory, supporting the generation of new neurons and their integration into the brain circuit (Ichwan et al, Stem Cell Reports, 2021).
Red apple extends your life
But we are not talking about just any red apple, we are talking about the variety of Italian Red Passion apples, red on the outside and red on the inside as well, developed during a study conducted by the University of Tuscia. Well, these apples have been shown to contain even more antioxidants than the Annurca apple variety and have been shown to extend lifespan on fruit flies, used as a model for their genetic similarity to humans ( Bongiorni et al, Antioxidants, 2022).
Better organic apples, here's why
The skin of the apple contains a quantity of phenolic compounds up to four times higher than the pulp. Indeed, some antioxidant substances, such as quercetin, are found only in the peel (Nezbedova et al, Nutrients, 2021). That's why it's a good choice to consume the whole fruit, even with the peel. Hence the importance of the biological origin of the apple, which in any case must always be washed very well.