Apples are a popular fruit. They contain antioxidants, vitamins, dietary fiber, and a range of other nutrients. Due to their varied nutrient content, apples may help improve health in several ways.

Apples come in a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors. They provide a range of nutrients that can benefit many aspects of a person’s health.

Eating a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including apples, may help reduce the risk of several conditions, such as:

This article looks at the nutritional content of apples and how they may benefit a person’s health.

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Apples are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which benefit human health. They also provide an array of antioxidants. These substances help neutralize free radicals.

Free radicals are reactive molecules that can build up as a result of natural processes and environmental pressures. If too many free radicals accumulate in the body, they can cause oxidative stress. This can lead to cell damage. Cell damage can contribute to a range of conditions, including cancer and diabetes.

Apples are an important source of antioxidants considering their widespread consumption, particularly in Northern Europe and the United States.

The sections below look at previous research into apples’ potential health benefits.

Learn more about good dietary sources of antioxidants.

Improve mental health

Eating a diet rich in fruits, such as apples, may benefit a person’s mental health.

A 2020 systematic review found that consuming fruits and vegetables may have a positive impact on a person’s mental health. Researchers recommended a person eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to get the benefits.

A 2019 study involving immigrants in Canada found that a higher intake of fruit and vegetables lowered the participants’ odds of experiencing anxiety and mood disorders. Participants also reported an increase in good mental health.

What is the best diet for mental health? Find out here.

Reduce the risk of stroke

Apples contain many nutrients that may lower the risk of stroke. One 2017 research review found, for example, that people who consume the most fiber appear to have a lower risk of:

A medium-sized apple around 3 inches in diameter and weighing 169 grams (g) provides 4.06 g of fiber. That is around 11–14% of an adult’s daily requirement, depending on their age and sex.

What are the benefits of eating a nutritious diet? Learn more here.

Lower cholesterol

A 2019 study found that eating two raw apples per day for 8 weeks lowered levels of cholesterol among healthy people. However, drinking clear apple juice did not have the same impact.

Study authors therefore concluded it is the fiber in apples that helps reduce cholesterol.

Get some more tips for lowering cholesterol.

Boost heart health

Apples contain fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. A medium-sized apple provides the following:

  • 11–14% of a person’s daily fiber needs
  • 10% of a person’s daily vitamin C needs

Fiber appears to help manage blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that, alongside other antioxidants, may play a role in protecting some aspects of heart health.

Vitamin C is also necessary for proper immune function, which may help defend the body from infections and diseases.

What other foods can help lower blood pressure?

Lower the risk of diabetes

A 2021 study found that people who included whole fruits, such as apples, in their diet had a 36% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes at 5 years than those who did not eat fruit.

People who consume the most fiber have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who already have diabetes and eat a high fiber diet may also have lower blood sugar levels.

The American Diabetes Association recommends eating fresh fruit, including apples, to satisfy a sweet tooth and provide nutrition. However, the organization reminds people to account for the carbohydrate content in the fruit.

A 100 g portion of raw Granny Smith apple contains 13.2 g of carbohydrate, of which 10.6 g is sugar. However, it also provides dietary fiber and other nutrients. This means that, as a sweet snack, it has additional health benefits.

Learn more about the best foods for diabetes.

Lower the risk of cancer

Consuming antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent the oxidative stress that causes cell damage, which may lead to the development of certain cancers. Apples are a good source of antioxidants.

One 2016 meta-analysis concluded that consuming apples may help lower the risk of:

Fiber may also help reduce the risk of colon cancer, according to a 2018 meta-analysis.

Learn more about the link between cancer and diet.

Help maintain a moderate weight

The fiber in apples can help a person feel full for longer, making them less likely to overeat. This may help people manage their weight.

A 2020 study found that the dietary fiber in fruits and vegetables supported weight loss in women. The consumption of fruits and vegetables can reduce eating rate and provide fewer calories while being satisfying.

A 2022 study also found that whole Fuji apples have the potential to lower the cellular lipid level in 3T3-L1 cells, meaning they may have anti-obesity effects.

Which fruits offer the most benefits? Learn more here.

The table below shows the amount of nutrients in a medium raw apple.

It also shows how much an adult needs of each nutrient, according to the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A person’s needs vary according to their age and sex.

NutrientAmount Daily adult requirement (ages 19–30)
Energy (calories)
104
males: 2,400
females: 2,000
Protein (g) 0.5210–35
Total dietary fiber (g)4.8males: 34
females: 28
Calcium (mg)121,000
Iron (mg)0.24males: 8
females: 18
Magnesium (mg)10males: 400
females: 310
Potassium (mg)214males: 3,400
females: 2,600
Vitamin C (mg)9.2males: 90
females: 75
Folate (mcg)6400

How can other fruits benefit a person’s health? Find out here.

There are many varieties of apples, as well as several ways of consuming them.

Some popular apple varieties include:

  • McIntosh: a juicy, red apple with tender, white flesh and a tangy flavor
  • Red delicious: a crisp, juicy red apple
  • Fuji: a yellow and red apple with firm, sweet flesh
  • Granny Smith: a green apple with crisp, greenish flesh and a sharp flavor
  • Golden Delicious: a yellow apple with a mild, sweet flavor

There are many ways to eat apples besides raw, including:

  • applesauce
  • chopped in salads
  • baked whole
  • pies, pastries, and cakes
  • curries and chutneys
  • dried slices
  • smoothies
  • juices

Preferences vary, but many people prefer tart, tangy apples to make applesauce or apple pie. To avoid adding sugar, try pairing tart apples with sweet ones in cooking or adding spices to counter the sharpness.

Recipes

Here are some recipes that include apples:

Eating an apple is unlikely to trigger serious side effects in most people, but some may need to take care.

The sections below list some potential risks of eating apples.

Toxins

Apple seeds contain cyanide. Swallowing whole seeds is unlikely to cause harm, but chewing and swallowing many apple seeds could be dangerous.

Learn more about apple seeds and toxins.

Allergies

Some people may have an allergic reaction after eating apples. Anyone who experiences hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention.

If these symptoms progress to anaphylaxis, it could become life threatening.

Find out more about apple allergies.

Teeth

In the past, there was a widespread belief that eating an apple could help remove plaque from the teeth. However, studies have not found strong evidence of this. Brushing the teeth regularly is more likely to have this effect.

In addition, the acidic content of apples may contribute to a buildup of plaque. It is recommended for people to rinse their mouth with water or brush their teeth after eating an apple.

Choking

Young children and older adults who have difficulty swallowing may be at risk of choking on raw apple pieces. Consuming unsweetened applesauce or other forms of cooked apple may be a better option.

What are the top 10 healthy foods?

Q:

Should I eat the peel of an apple?

Anonymous

A:

The peels of apples contain beneficial nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Whenever possible, people should consume the edible peels of fruits, including apples, pears, and peaches, to take full advantage of all the nutrients the whole fruit offers. Peeling apples will lower the fiber and overall nutrient content of the fruit.

In fact, research has shown that although both an apple’s flesh and peel are highly nutritious, the peel contains certain antioxidants that the flesh does not.

Plus, several studies have shown that the antioxidant capacity of apple peel is up to 4 times higher than apple flesh.

So, to get the most out of an apple, eat the peel. However, be sure to properly wash the apple before consuming it to reduce the chances of ingesting contaminants, such as pesticides.

Jillian Kubala, MS, RDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

This section answers some common questions about apples.

What vitamins are in apples?

Apples contain many of the vitamins necessary for healthy body function. Different types of apples will contain different amounts.

Generally, apples contain the following vitamins:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E

They also contain a variety of B vitamins, such as:

  • vitamin B1, or thiamine
  • vitamin B2, or riboflavin
  • vitamin B3, or niacin
  • vitamin B6, or pyridoxine
  • vitamin B9, or folate

Aside from vitamin C, apples only provide small amounts of these vitamins.

Some of these vitamins are present in the skin. For the most nutritional benefit, a person should consume the skin as well as the flesh of the apple.

Additionally, apples contain very small amounts of different minerals, including:

Which apple is lowest in sugar?

Apples have some amount of natural sugar, which gives them sweetness. The amount of sugar varies with the type of apple.

In comparing some of the most popular types of apples, the Granny Smith variety has the lowest sugar and Fuji has the highest sugar.

All calculations are grams of sugar per 100 g of apple:

Apple typeTotal sugar content
Granny Smith10.6 g
Red Delicious12.2 g
Honeycrisp12.4 g
Fuji13.3 g

Apples are a valuable part of any diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which can help control hunger and regulate blood sugar.

Eaten regularly, preferably with the nutrient-rich skin on, apples can supplement any diet with important vitamins and minerals. There are very few risks to apples, except for allergies and toxins from eating many apple seeds.

There are many varieties of apples. They come with different nutrition profiles but are fairly similar in how much sugar, carbohydrates, and protein they contain.