As the leaves change color and summer comes to an end, most apple varieties are ripe and ready to eat. The fall season is a perfect time to add apples to your diet. Not only will your taste buds thank you; you will also enjoy the numerous health benefits associated with this seasonal favorite. Here, you will learn about five reasons to snack on apples this fall season.
Lower Cholesterol with Apples
Apples are well-known among the scientific community for their ability to lower cholesterol levels. In a 2005 study in the Journal of Oleo Science, participants who were given an apple polyphenol supplement daily for four weeks experienced significant reductions in their levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Their levels of protective HDL cholesterol increased after taking the supplement.
In 2009, researchers for the Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology reviewed nine different studies concerned with the relationship between apple consumption and cholesterol. They found that consuming three apples per day could reduce cholesterol levels by 5 to 8 percent. The researchers concluded that apples likely do lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, which could reduce the risk of heart disease.
Apples for Weight and Appetite Management
The research suggests that apples may help you to reduce your appetite and manage your weight. A 2009 study in the journal Appetite found that those who ate an apple prior to a meal consumed fewer calories during the meal than did those who consumed apple sauce or apple juice. Subjects who consumed apples ingested 150 fewer calories than those who had apple juice and 91 fewer calories than those who consumed apple sauce. They also reported feeling more full after the meal. Fill up with an apple prior to dinner, and you may find yourself saying no to dessert!
In a second study, published in a 2008 edition of Appetite, overweight women were divided into three groups. One group consumed three apples per day; a second group consumed three pears per day, and the third group consumed three oat cookies daily. The calorie content was equal among the apples, pears, and cookies. After 10 weeks, daily calorie intake was significantly lower among those who consumed apples. In addition, those given apples lost about two pounds during the study period. Pears also resulted in weight loss and a reduction in calorie intake, but the effect was greater with apples. Weight and calorie intake increased very slightly among those who consumed oat cookies.
Apples and Cancer Protection
Adding apples to your diet may protect you from cancer. Researchers for a 2010 edition of the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found that consuming more than one apple per day decreased the risk of colorectal cancer by 47 percent. The researchers hypothesized that this reduction in risk could be explained by the antioxidant content of apples.
A second study, published in a 2010 edition of Nutrition and Cancer, analyzed the effects of the peels of organic Gala apples. Results showed that the apple peels significantly reduced the growth and survival of human prostate and breast cancer cells.
Reduced Diabetes Risk Linked to Apples
In addition to other health benefits, research shows that apples may reduce the risk of diabetes. In a 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers followed 38,000 women for a period of about 9 years. They found that those who consumed at least one apple per day were 28 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who never consumed apples.
A 2012 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed similar benefits associated with apples. Study participants who consumed at least five apples per week were 23 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who consumed less than one apple per month.
Apples and Lung Functioning
You may be able to breathe easier if you include apples in your diet. A 2001 study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that apple consumption was linked to a reduced risk of asthma.
A second study, published in 2000 in the journal Thorax found that men who consumed at least five apples per week had better lung functioning than men who did not consume apples. The relationship between apples and improved lung functioning remained significant, even after adjusting for factors such as smoking, exercise, and body mass index.
Improved lung functioning is just one of several benefits associated with apples. As discussed here, apples can reduce cholesterol levels, lower your risk of cancer and diabetes, and help you to manage your weight and food intake. Stock up on apples this fall season to take advantage of their many health-related perks.