The Daily Crunch: Why we should be eating an apple a day

A new CSIRO summary of research1 has revealed even more health benefits to crunching on an apple a day.   

The summary highlights a growing body of scientific evidence that shows regularly eating apples can help keep your heart healthy, control appetite, and assist with weight loss. Emerging research also links eating apples with healthier gut bacteria.

Leading health and lifestyle expert Dr Joanna McMillan said we were still discovering just how important a daily apple could be to our overall health.

“We know crunching on an apple make us to feel great. What we are now learning is how the compounds in apples, especially polyphenols and apple fibre actually help our bodies.” says Dr McMillan.

“This new evidence makes it even more important to eat the whole apple, skin and all, to ensure you’re getting all the goodness, because a lot of the antioxidants, fibre and polyphenols are found close to or in the skin.”

The CSIRO summary, commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, involved reviewing the abstracts of 122 studies on apples and their health benefits that were published in scientific journals between 2010 and 2016.

Based on the CSIRO summary of research, here are Dr Joanna McMillan’s five top reasons to get your crunch on and eat an apple a day:

1. Apple Eaters Weigh Less

Eating whole apples can help control your appetite and assist with weight loss1

Studies have shown that both adults and children who eat apples regularly are more likely to have a lower BMI1. Initially researchers believed it was the low energy density of apples that helped manage weight. More recent animal research suggests the dietary fibre (pectin) and polyphenols in apples may also play a role in appetite and weight control1.

2. Good For Gut Health

Emerging research shows eating apples is associated a healthier gut bacteria1.

It is believed eating apples results in positive changes to gut bacteria (or microbiome)1. While the exact health effects of this are not yet known, the gut microbiome is now understood to play an important role in maintaining good health and preventing disease1.

3. Put The Crunch On Cancer

Regularly eating apples is associated with a reduced risk of some of the most common forms of cancer1. This has been shown for breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma1.

4. Keep Your Ticker Healthy

There is a strengthening body of scientific evidence that a regular apple habit is good for your heart1.

Apples and their nutritional components help lower total and LDL cholesterol1. While observational studies link eating more apples with a reduced risk of stroke, hypertension and a range of heart disease risk factors1.

Emerging research from the University of Western Australia also suggests that eating apples may improve blood pressure and elasticity of blood vessels acutely2.

5. Ideal Snack For Kids

Apples are great morning snack for kids and perfect for recess1. Research shows apples are more effective than a glass of (semi-skimmed) milk at reducing morning munchies3. Kids who regularly eat apples are more likely to have a lower BMI, better overall nutrition, a better diet and be at lower risk of obesity4.

The Australian apples season is now in full swing. Here are some handy apple tips for selecting, storing and enjoying your apples.

  • Select apples that are firm and without bruises and blemishes. 
  • Store your apples in the fridge when you get home, they’ll stay fresher and keep their crunch for longer
  • Enjoy the whole apple – skin and all – to get all the nutritional benefits. A lot of the antioxidants and other good stuff is in the skin.

For further information please contact:

Kate Gabbott at Bite Communications| kate@bitecom.com.au | 02 9977 8195 | 0434 886 678

 

References:

  1. James-Martin G, Williams G, Stonehouse W. Translating the scientific evidence for apples and pears into health messages. Report for HIA.  November 2016. [insert link]
  2. Bondonno, C.P., X. Yang, K.D. Croft, M.J. Considine, N.C. Ward, L. Rich, I.B. Puddey, et al., Flavonoid-rich apples and nitrate-rich spinach augment nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function in healthy men and women: A randomized controlled trial. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 2012. 52(1): p. 95-102.
  3. Rumbold, P.L.S., C.J. Dodd-Reynolds, and E.J. Stevenson, Informing primary school nutritional policy: effects of mid-morning snacks on appetite and energy control. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2013. 4(5): p. 529-537
  4. O’Neil, C.E., T.A. Nicklas, and V.L. Fulgoni, Consumption of apples is associated with a better diet quality and reduced risk of obesity in children: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2010. Nutrition Journal, 2015.