So many of us have been told that if we’re looking for something to eat to reach for an apple. They’re an extremely versatile fruit, so whether you’re eating a full meal, searching for dessert, or simply in need of a snack to hold you over, they can be the perfect go-to. But, have you ever wondered why this particular fruit is the chosen one among them all?
We spoke to nutritionists and dietitians to find out exactly what makes apples so special. Their answer? It has to do with the multitude of health benefits that come from one nutritional component found in apples—soluble fiber. Here’s why soluble fiber is important for your body, and for even more eating tips, be sure to check out our list of the 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.
It’s pretty simple actually—dietary fiber is broken down into two categories. The first is soluble fiber (which dissolves in water once it enters the body) and the second is insoluble fiber (meaning it instead remains whole). According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber retains a gel-like consistency in the body. It’s this soluble fiber that provides various health benefits, and one of the food items richest in soluble fiber is apples.
The experts broke it down for us. Amy Goodson, MS RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook highlights that the soluble fiber in apples is responsible for “lowering total and bad cholesterol, and improving your heart’s health.” It’s heart health, she notes, to be one of the most major benefits to the intake of soluble fiber from apples.
If you’re wondering how the soluble fiber is able to remove cholesterol from the body, Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, can explain.
“This form of fiber helps the body to get rid of cholesterol by sticking to it and flushing it out of the body,” says Best.
This is why the gel-like consistency of soluble fiber is so important—it gives it the ability to stick to things like cholesterol. Best also notes that “these nutrients are contained primarily in the peel”, so if you’re looking for a reason not to peel your apples, this is it.
Another health benefit that comes from soluble fiber, according to Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, Colorado-based registered dietitian and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices, is that it “slows down the digestion process and promotes appetite-suppressing signals in the body.”
This means that by eating an apple, you can feel fuller for longer, which makes it the perfect snack to aid in weight loss. If you’re looking to boost the satiety effect of apples even further, Burgess recommends pairing apples with a protein like peanut butter, cheese, or nuts.
While that boost in soluble fiber is one of the main reasons you should consider eating apples on the regular, there are other incredible health benefits from apples that will nourish your body in other ways.
“Apples are really high in antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which can help to reduce inflammation in your body and even help prevent cancer,” says Megan Byrd, RD from The Oregon Dietitian.
As if the boost in soluble fiber wasn’t enough—apples can tackle reducing inflammation and preventing cancer, too! There’s absolutely no question that the next time you’re scavenging your kitchen for something to eat, you go for an apple.