Today, when scientists evaluate plant foods, they talk about phytochemicals or phytonutrients. These are compounds found in plants that are beneficial to human health. The health benefits of apples may be related to the phytonutrients named quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin, as well as the vitamins and minerals listed in the standard apple nutrition content.
Most daily multi-vitamins do not provide these phytonutrients.
Studies have shown that phytonutrients found in apples may protect the brain from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory, an anti-allergen, and has been used to treat skin and prostate cancers.
Epicatechin and other catechins have been shown to reduce plaque build-up in the arteries of animals and to reduce the cancer causing affects of carcinogens in test tubes. Procyanidin or proanthocyanidin is believed to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes. The list of the health benefits of apples keeps growing.
Then there is fiber. Although not normally listed in the apple nutrition content, the value of fiber to the human diet is great. It relates not only to digestive regularity or relief of constipation, but also to the prevention of life-threatening diseases, such as colon and rectal cancer.
Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids in digestion and weight loss. Apples are considered a low-glycemic food and therefore, do not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. The nutritional makeup of the apple prevents the body from releasing too much insulin, even though apples are rich in natural sugar.
Apples would also be considered one of the weight loss foods because it contains a natural fibrous chemical called pectin. Pectin limits the amount of fat absorbed by your cells. Also, pectin is good for cleansing the liver. Pectin helps by grabbing toxins and escorts them out of the body.
It is now known that regular intake of fiber found in fruits, such as the apple, reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, unhealthy cholesterol levels, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and many other disorders that involve the intestinal tract.