Most notable constituents
- Vitamins C and K
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Manganese (Mn)
- Potassium (K)
- Sulphur (S)
- Malic, folic, tartaric and tannic acids
- Natural sugar
- Volatile/essential oils
Apples are a great way to boost your energy without spiking your blood-sugar/glucose levels, so they won’t leave you feeling drowsy afterwards. This is partly because apples contain a good amount of water and fibre. Apples can boost your energy while also slightly lowering your blood pressure.
Apples contain a substantial amount of vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid). The vitamin C in apples is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are a kind of molecule that can safely terminate free radicals, before damage is done to the body’s cells. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that are highly reactive and can cause chain reactions, like dominoes toppling over onto one another. When they react with important cellular components, such as DNA or the cell membrane the cells will begin to function poorly or die. Therefore, by lowering the number of free radicals in the body, one is at a lower risk to cancer and other diseases as well as slowing down aging!
Vitamin C is also helpful to the body in maintaining and repairing connective tissue, bones, blood vessels and skin. Furthermore, it contributes to the healthy functioning of our immune systems. It also aids iron absorption which benefits blood cells and can help protect against heart disease.
Apples are high in pectin. Pectin is a soluble fibre and complex carbohydrate made up of different sugars and is contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. Pectin helps to lower levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and keep them stable. Pectin molecules bind with cholesterol and bile acids, which helps facilitate their excretion from the body. Eating two (2) apples a day can result in an average reduction in cholesterol levels of up to 10 %. Pectin is a magnificent detoxifier. It helps our bodies to cleanse environmental pollutants and toxins by binding to heavy metals such as lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) and carrying them safely out of the body. This same principle also applies to cleansing other contaminants in the body such as drug residues or food poisoning. This will allow the body to repair itself.
Apples are a great source of fibre, containing both soluble and insoluble fibre. Eating one (1) large apple can provide a person with 10 % of their recommended daily intake of fibre. It has been shown that high fibre foods can be useful in reducing one’s risk of heart disease.
Pectin and fibre work well together, which makes apples brilliant at helping with all sorts of digestive problems or infections. Apples are both soothing and antiseptic and can therefore help with conditions such as inflammatory bowel syndrome. Traditionally, raw apples are eaten to help with constipation and cooked apples are eaten to help with diarrhoea. Apples are also gently diuretic, which means they assist in the passing of urine out of the body and hence the elimination of uric acid.
The malic and tartaric acids in apples help to neutralise the acid by-products of indigestion and help your body cope with excess protein or rich, fatty foods. Eating an apple before or during a meal will stimulate the secretion of digestive juices and can therefore aid protein digestion. This is one of the reasons why many rich desserts or other dishes often incorporate apples.
Malic acid is the main organic compound that makes apples sour (green apples in particular). Malic acid has quite a few health benefits and some people even take malic acid supplements. For the full effects to be realised, malic acid needs to be ingested regularly, hence the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It can help reduce pain, for example muscle soreness. Malic acid also has exfoliating properties because it slightly raises the skin’s pH. It is used in skin care products because it is suitable for sensitive skins, but it can still penetrate the skin deeply and improve skin smoothness, moisture, pigmentation and complexion.
Folic acid is a form of folate, which is a B vitamin. It is needed to make DNA and other genetic material and is also needed for our body’s cells to divide.
Volatile/essential oils are concentrated, hydrophobic liquids which contain volatile aroma compounds from plants. These oils contain the essence of the plant’s fragrance; i.e. the plant’s characteristic fragrance. Apples’ essential oils have several benefits, such as calming and uplifting effects as well as offering general help with things related to the brain, such as depression and insomnia. The essential oils in apples can also help with headaches and stress-related issues as well as immune and circulatory system troubles.
Links: YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZHg6tM48jklY2YBXZK4NWQ (HappyHealthyHonestHuman)
Cousin, Jean Pierre and Hartvig, Kirsten. 2011. The New Complete Guide to Nutritional Health. UK: Duncan Baird Publishers Ltd.
Thomas, Pat. 2006. What’s In This Stuff?: The Essential Guide to What's Really in the Products You Buy in the Supermarket. UK: Rodale International Ltd.
Van Straten, Michael and Griggs, Barbara. 2006. Superfoods Super Fast. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited.