9th August 2018

Six Health Benefits of Great British Apples

Getting to the core of the nutritional and health benefits behind the nations’ best-loved fruit!

By Helen Bond, Registered Dietitian

 

Great British apples are one of the nation’s best-loved fruits, and for good reason. Not only are they naturally delicious, hugely versatile, home grown and widely available in the UK, but also they have a whole host of nutritional and health benefits.

Whether you’re looking after your waistline, topping up your fibre intake or looking for a wholesome elevenses fix, there’s a Great British apple to suit your needs.

 

Here, registered dietitian Helen Bond gets to the core of why eating apples is so good for you…

 

Feel fuller for less

Apples are the kind of fruit that our waistlines love. Packing in quite a bit of fibre (1.8g per medium apple) for a modest amount of calories (77 calories) makes apples a filling, naturally sweet snack that you can enjoy morning, noon and night. [1]

Satisfying hunger for few calories, it’s not surprising that apples can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet that promotes weight maintenance or loss. [2]

 

Gut health goals

Apples contain good amounts of fibre (1.8g per medium sized apple), including the prebiotic fibre pectin, which help to feed our gut flora, supporting them to grow and flourish, so they can regulate every aspect of our digestive health effectively. [3] [4] [5]

Apples provide stool-bulking fibre, which helps to keep our gut healthy, by speeding the passage of waste products through the digestive tract. 5 6

 

Slow release energy source

Apples have a low glycaemic index (GI) of 38 and a low glycaemic load (GL) of 4, which means that they release their energy more slowly, so they don’t cause the blood sugar spikes and drops that can leave us craving sugary snacks. [6]

 

Diabetes diet

Apple eaters could have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A Finnish study of 10,000 people showed those who frequently ate apples had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with non-apple eaters. [7] [8]

The low glycaemic index and glycaemic load in apples means they are a source of slow release energy, making them an excellent snack choice for people with insulin resistance and diabetes – who need to carefully control their blood glucose levels.

 

Naturally hydrating

It’s important to drink plenty of water each day, with a recommended 1.6 litres for women and 2 litres for men. This is particularly important in summertime and when exercising, but did you know that around 20-30% of our daily fluid needs comes from food?[9]

Apples are about 86% water, so are a sweet, crisp and refreshing food to eat all year round that contribute towards your daily hydration! [10]

For a juicier tasting apple, try a Royal Gala apple, in season September to May or Braeburn, in season December to May.

 

Reduced cancer risk

Several studies have specifically linked apple consumption with a reduced risk for cancer, especially lung cancer. In the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ follow-up study, women who consumed at least one serving per day of apples and pears had a reduced risk of lung cancer. [11]

Apples are a source of fibre, providing 6% of the adults’ DRV for fibre. SACN’s 2015 Carbohydrate and Health report confirmed clear benefits of increasing dietary fibre intakes for colorectal cancer. 5 6

 

 

[1] Public Health England (2015). McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Seventh Summary Edition. Royal Society of Chemistry.

[2] Flood-Obbagy, J E and Rolls, B J (2009). The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal. Appetite 52 (2), 416-422.

[3] Public Health England (2015). McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Seventh Summary Edition. Royal Society of Chemistry.

[4] Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2015). Carbohydrates and Health. Public Health England, London. Accessed April 2018.  Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-carbohydrates-and-health-report

[5] Slavin J (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients; 5 (4): 1417-1435.

[6] Aston et al (2010). Diogenes Intervention Study. Obesity Reviews. Accessed April 2018.  Available at http://www.diogenes-eu.org/GI-Database/Default.htm

[7] EFSA. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health; L 136:1-40.

[8] Sesso H, Gaziano JM, Liu S, Buring J (2003). Flavonoid intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 77: 1400-1408.

[9] Public Health England (2015). McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Seventh Summary Edition. Royal Society of Chemistry.

[10] Jequier E., Constant F (2010). Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hydration. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr; 64 (2): 115‐123.

[11] Feskanich D et al (2000) Prospective study of fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of lung cancer among men and women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000, 92: 1812-1823.