Apples are commonly eaten and are large contributors of phenolic compounds in European and North American diets. Apples contain a large concentration of flavonoids, as well as a variety of other phytochemicals, and the concentration of these phytochemicals may depend on many factors, such as cultivar of the apple, harvest and storage of the apples, and processing of the apples.
The concentration of phytochemicals also varies greatly between the apple peels and the apple flesh.The peels of apples, in particular, are high in phenolics.
Apple also contains a small amount of minerals likepotassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus, counters the bad influences of sodium.
Prolonged storage of fruits and vegetables often means loss of nutritional value, but apples retain virtually all of their flavonoid content for five to six months in cold storage.
There are many facets to the health benefits of apples. For example, they contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals that strengthen the blood. The skin of an apple contains pectin. Pectin can help remove toxic substances from the system by supplying galacturonic acid. This is used to help prevent protein matter in the intestine from spoiling. Cancer prevention benefits appear to stem from more than antioxidants, too. Laboratory studies show that apple extracts concentrated apple compounds can reduce growth and reproduction of colon and lung cancer cells. Researchers believe that the high levels of the flavonoids quercetin and naringin in apples may have a beneficial effect in inhibiting the formation of cancer.
Apples are also useful in the management of diabetes. Galacturonic acid, found in apples, lowers the body’s need for insulin. Eaten in moderation, apples can be a real treat for somebody living with diabetes because of the limited choices in the diet, it can be the solution to a sweet tooth. The pectin in apples, which is where the galaturonic acid is derived from, can also help lower “bad” cholesterol by as much as 16 percent, when two apples per day are eaten regularly.
Apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber in apples provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system.
Further, apple fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body.