Apples are such an incredible food. I’d almost go as far as calling them a superfood because damn, they have so many fabulous traits. But before I get into why they’re so good for you, I want to take a moment to appreciate how versatile apples are. Beyond nutrition, my favourite thing about them is the fact that I can throw one in my handbag and enjoy a healthy and filling snack at any time of day. They’re hard enough that they don’t get squashed and they make the most amazing travel companion. There’s no peeling, messy hands or chopping required – they’re one of those angel fruits that are perfect for the busy woman.
Now, let’s talk health benefits. Here’s why apples should be a staple on your shopping list.
Just one of the incredible characteristics of apples is that they contain a low glycaemic index (GI). GI is the rating scale of how quickly the sugars from a food are absorbed into the bloodstream. Foods that are unprocessed tend to have a lower GI, due to the fact that they haven’t been tampered with and rely on the body to do what it was made to do and digest and absorb the food. When tested, apples have been found to have a GI of 38 (a low GI is 55 or less), which means by snacking on them, you’ll feel fuller for longer.
Fibre, vitamin C and potassium
Apples are rich in soluble fibre, which plays an important role in reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol. Vitamin C supports immunity, helps with iron absorption and keeps skin healthy, while potassium is important for electrolyte balance and muscle health.
Did you know? Apples are also good for your digestive system. They contain pectin, a fibre that acts as a prebiotic to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Research suggests this may help protect against obesity and heart disease.
Let’s settle the debate once and for all. Fresh fruit is rich in good carbs, which provide sustained energy. The natural sugars in fresh fruit operate very differently to highly processed sugars like those found in cakes, biscuits and lollies, so you don’t ever need to worry about eating a piece of fruit and thinking you’re having too much sugar. In fact, a research study of 38,000 women published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that by eating an apple every day, women reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 28 per cent. So it would seem the opposite is true.
Polyphenols are the group of antioxidants found in apples. Antioxidants are really important because they help fight free radical damage and may reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. If I can give you one hot tip, it would be to always keep the skin on. Yep, even if you’re making an apple crumble or pie, keep the skin on – it will soften up nicely in cooking, so it won’t be an issue. The reason for this is because science has found that the antioxidants in the skin are much higher than in the flesh. So if you peel an apple, you’re actually losing a lot of the protective goodness.
Apples are 85% water, which means that in addition to providing essential nutrients and an energy boost, they’re also helping you meet your hydration needs at the same time.
Looking for some cooking inspiration? Check out these recipes.