Why are apples good so good for us? Doctor reveals some surprising benefits

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Did you know there are over 2500 varieties of apples in the UK? Meaning you could actually munch on a different one every day, for over 6 years!

But whether you make a super-sweet Gala or a crunchy Granny Smith your go-to snack, there's truth in the saying 'an apple a day, keeps the doctor away'. Evidence shows it's a fruit that can seriously benefit your health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the biggest killers in the UK, according to the NHS, with the main types of this illness including coronary heart disease and stroke. But recent reports have shown that eating a diet containing the micronutrients polyphenols – found naturally in apples, can help to keep your heart healthy.

British apples are a packed with polyphenols, and in particular flavonoids. These are a specific polyphenol with antioxidants that fight against the harmful chemicals that damage cells in the body.

‘In relation to cardiovascular disease, polyphenols are believed to help protect cells that line the blood vessels, preventing damage from free-radicals,’ says Tom Sanders, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College London.

And along with these health-protecting polyphenols, the fibre content in British apples (1.2g per 100g) could also help lower risk of CVD.

‘Dietary fibre, like that found in apples, contributes to increasing faecal bulk and transit time, and higher intakes are associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease,’ explains Professor Sanders.

But a healthy heart is not the only wellbeing benefit of this naturally nutritious snack. Several studies have also linked eating apples with a reduced risk of lung cancer.

Making an apple one of your five a day can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes too. Apples are a source of slow release energy, thanks to their low glycaemic index (GI) of 38 that stabilises blood sugar.

And if you need one more reason to pop this portable snack in your bag tomorrow, research shows that eating apples can contribute to a healthy gut by encouraging the growth of more ‘friendly’ bacteria in the large bowel.

Ali Horsfall
Senior Writer

Senior writer Ali Horsfall has almost 15 years of experience as a journalist and has written for national print titles and women’s lifestyle brands including Woman & Home, Woman, Woman's Own, BBC magazines, Mothercare, Grazia and The Independent.