If you’re looking for a nutritious, delicious, yet satiating on-the-go snack, nothing comes close to the modest apple. This unassuming, simple fruit is a true powerhouse and is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It’s no wonder the old saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
So, are apples good for your immune system and can they really keep the doctor away? In this article, we’ll give you a complete lowdown on the wonderful health benefits of apples and what it can do for your immune system.
Benefits of Apples For Your Immune System
Available all year round, apples can be eaten in any form. You can eat the fruit as is, add them to your salads, desserts or other recipes, apples are considered among the healthiest foods to eat.
As we discussed earlier, apples are loaded with nutritious goodness that can help to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and protect you from viruses, bacteria, infections and illnesses. Including apples in your diet regularly can help to keep your immune system in good shape. And, let’s see how in more detail.
Apple Consumption Helps To Combat Inflammation
Free radicals are produced because of external environmental factors or normal cell metabolism and an overload of these free radicals in the body causes oxidative stress.
The free radicals damage the cells in the body and also trigger the genes that cause an increased inflammatory response. In turn, chronic inflammation causes many health problems and degenerative illnesses.
Apples, especially red apples contain quercetin, a phytochemical, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to regulate the immune responses in your body, by reducing the markers of inflammation. Quercetin is mainly contained in the peel of the apple and so, you should eat the apple without peeling it for maximum benefits.
Regulates The Immune System
Apples not only contain the phytochemical, quercetin, but they also contain a whole host of flavonoids including epicatechin, catechin, coumaric acid, phloridzin, procyanidin, gallic acid and chlorogenic acid.
Apples have the highest free phenolics content and very high antioxidant activity compared to other fruits. The phytochemicals and flavonoids in apples have anti-inflammatory properties, help to regulate the immune responses and protect the body from oxidative stress.
Supports Digestive Health
The health of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract can play a very important role in boosting your immune system. Keeping the gut bacteria balanced and healthy can help your body to combat infections. Apples contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps to support gut health and also strengthens your immune system.
A medium-sized apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber. The soluble fiber in the apple helps to increase the production of the anti-inflammatory protein, interleukin-4, which in turn, triggers T-cells that play a vital role in the body’s immunity against pathogens.
According to a 2010 study conducted by the University of Illinois, it was seen that the soluble fiber contained in apples transforms the nature of immune cells from inflammatory to anti-inflammatory.
The group of mice that consumed soluble fiber fell less sick and also recovered 50% faster compared to the group that did not consume soluble fiber.
According to a study, pectin helps to improve the intestinal immune barrier that can protect against gut infections. Another study revealed that when women ate two apples daily for two weeks, it was seen that their good gut bacteria increased significantly.
Protects From Infections
Vitamin C is among the best defenses that can help your body to fight off colds and other illnesses. Moreover, vitamin C is extremely beneficial when it comes to boosting the immune system.
Studies reveal that consuming vitamin C can help to increase the antioxidant levels in the body by a massive 30%, which in turn, can help to ward off inflammation and bolster your body’s defenses.
A study published in the Nutrients journal showed that vitamin C can strengthen the epithelial barrier and keep out pathogens while protecting the cells in the body against oxidative stress caused by environmental factors.
Apples are a wonderful source of vitamin C and a large apple contains approximately 10.3 mg of vitamin C, which comprises 11.4% of the DV.
Research also shows that the antioxidant activity provided by 100 grams of apples is equal to 1,500 mg of vitamin C. And, if you’re eating apples for its vitamin C, then have them along with the peel because an apple with its peel has 115% more vitamin C compared to apple without the peel.
Are Apples Good For Your Immune System? Wrapping Up
For several centuries, apples have been called the “elixir of life” and for good reason. This simple fruit is chockfull of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and soluble fiber that offer plenty of health benefits.
The presence of antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids in the apple makes the fruit especially good for your immune system. And, including the apple in your everyday diet can go a very long way in helping your body to build its defenses and ward off health problems and diseases.