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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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January 2020 (Vol. 11 Issue 4)

The Health Benefits of Eating Apples
About the author: 
Joanna Evans

The Health Benefits of Eating Apples image

An apple a day really can keep the doctor away with the health benefits they contain

The Health Benefits of Eating Apples

An apple a day really can keep the doctor away with the health benefits they contain.

Exotic superfruits like goji berries, baobab and lucuma are all the rage, but the humble apples can boost your health without breaking the bank. Here are five good reasons to eat an apple a day.

  1. It can cut your risk of cancer

Eating one or more apples a day can significantly slash your risk of a wide range of cancers, especially tumours of the mouth, throat, larynx, colon and oesophagus, according to Italian researchers.1 And in a study from Hawaii, those who ate the most apples cut their lung cancer risk by more than a third compared with people who ate the least.2

But don't skip the peel. It's exceptionally high in antioxidants and has been found to prevent cancer growth and development.3

  1. It may help to prevent stroke

You could cut your risk of stroke in half by eating plenty of apples, pears and other white-fleshed fruit and vegetables, a decade-long study suggests. For every 25 g of white fruit or veg eaten, stroke risk drops by 9 per cent. So eating just one apple a day could slash your risk by 36-45 per cent.4

Quercetin, a potent antioxidant present in apples, may be partly responsible for the fruit's heart-healthy effects.5

  1. It could help you control your weight

If you have trouble feeling full and tend to overeat, an apple could help. People who eat an apple before a meal consume fewer calories and feel fuller compared with those who eat nothing before a meal, according to one study.

It has to be the whole fruit, though. Having apple juice or applesauce before a meal won't have the same effect.6

  1. It could help you dodge diabetes

Apple-loving men and women are less likely to have type 2 diabetes.7 But make sure you eat the whole fruit if you want to cut your chances of developing the disorder; drinking apple or other fruit juices can actually boost your risk.8

  1. It might protect against asthma

Stock up on apples if you're pregnant—they might prevent your unborn child from getting asthma. When researchers looked at the relationship between foods eaten by mums during pregnancy and asthma symptoms in their young children, only apples protected against asthma (and allergic symptoms too).9

Eating apples may also lower the risk of asthma in people in their 30s and 40s.10



Ann Oncol, 2005; 16: 1841-4


J Natl Cancer Inst, 2000; 92: 154-60


Nutr Cancer, 2010; 62: 517-24


Stroke, 2011; 42: 3190-5


Adv Nutr, 2012; 3: 39-46


Appetite, 2009; 52: 416-22


J Am Coll Nutr, 2005; 24: 376-84


BMJ, 2013; 347: f5001


Thorax, 2007; 62: 773-9


Am J Clin Nutr, 2003; 78: 414-21

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