Apple Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Apples annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

The satisfaction of crunching on a fresh, juicy apple is a sensory experience shared by people from the past to the present. Apples come in thousands of varieties and they are one of the most popular fruits around the world. While apples may not seem like the most exotic or interesting fruit, their nutritional value shouldn't be underestimated. After all, the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" has yet to be proven wrong.

Apple Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one medium-sized (182g) apple (3” in diameter).

  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 1.8mg
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Fiber: 4.4g
  • Sugars: 18.9g
  • Protein: 0.5g

Carbs

A medium apple has 25 grams of carbohydrates, with 4.4 grams of fiber and about 19 grams of natural sugar.

Apples have a low glycemic index between 34–38.

Fats

There is less than 1/2 gram of fat per medium-sized apple.

Protein

Apples are low in protein. A medium apple has just a 1/2 gram of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Apples are a good source of potassium and beta carotene. They provide some vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and calcium.

Health Benefits

Apples are a convenient package of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids (beneficial plant compounds) that provide a range of valuable health benefits.

Promotes Heart Health

Fruits and vegetables are the mainstays of a heart-healthy eating plan. Naturally low in sodium and high in potassium, plant foods prevent dangerous elevations in blood pressure. Whole apples are a good source of fiber, which is known to lower cholesterol levels. In addition, apples provide numerous anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the overall risk of heart disease.

Regulates Blood Sugar

The fiber in apples slows down digestion, preventing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels after eating. General recommendations are to aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. That means an average 2,000 calorie meal plan should include at least 28 grams of fiber for optimal health.

Eating whole apples with the skin provides the most fiber (apple juice doesn't contain any fiber). A medium apple has 4.4 grams of fiber, so eating an apple or two can help you work towards your daily total.

May Aid Cancer Prevention

Apples contain a powerful natural antioxidant, called quercetin. While quercetin effectively kills abnormal cells, it appears to leave healthy cells alone. Quercetin interrupts various phases of the cell cycle, inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in several types of tumors.

Prostate cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer all show promising benefits from quercetin. Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides quercetin, along with other potent antioxidants for cancer prevention.

Reduces Asthma Symptoms

The quercetin in apples is also beneficial for people with asthma. Studies show that quercetin suppresses inflammation and effectively reduces the severity of food allergies and respiratory issues. Including apples as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for asthma can help keep symptoms at bay.

Supports Weight Loss

Apples are a satisfying and nutritious snack that can help reduce cravings and manage appetite. Consuming a medium-sized apple 15 minutes prior to eating a meal has been shown to lower calorie intake by 15%.

Choosing a fresh apple over processed snack foods is a great way to boost vitamin intake and reap the filling effects of soluble fiber. The high water content in apples also means you can have a large portion without overdoing it on calories.

Allergies

Fruit allergies to apples are possible. You may notice tingling in your mouth and lips after biting into an apple, or more severe symptoms shortly after eating them.

Another possible cause of allergy symptoms related to apples is a condition called oral allergy syndrome (OAS), also known as pollen fruit syndrome (PFS). This is different from a typical food allergy.

With either condition, symptoms may include itchiness and swelling of the mouth, face, lip, tongue, and throat immediately after eating apples or up to an hour afterward. Severe reactions may include difficulty breathing or swallowing. 

If you experience any symptoms after eating apples, seek medical care and talk to your healthcare provider about an allergy test.

Adverse Effects

Although fresh apples are beneficial for asthma, dried apples may contain sulfites which worsen asthma symptoms in sensitized individuals.

If you aren't used to eating a lot of fiber, a sudden increase in apple intake can cause digestive discomfort. To avoid this issue, make dietary changes gradually. Furthermore, if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and are sensitive to certain fruit sugars, apples may be a trigger. Apples are high in fruit sugars, called FODMAPs, which cause issues for some individuals. See a dietitian to determine the best course of action for managing your symptoms.

Varieties

There are 7,500 varieties of apples in the world, however, in the United States around 100 are commercially grown. Apple varieties range in color (from red to pink and green to golden), flavor (sweet to sour), and texture (mealy or soft to crisp). Apples can range in size from as small as a large cherry to as big as a grapefruit.

In addition to fresh apples, apple products include applesauce, apple juice, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, and dried apple slices. For the healthiest choices, opt for items that are minimally processed without added sugars.

When It's Best

Modern storage techniques make apples available all year, with peak season being in the fall. Apples are grown throughout all 50 states, so look for an orchard near you to go picking for fresh apples. Nothing quite compares to the taste of an apple straight off the tree. No matter the variety, apples should be firm to the touch and free of holes, bruises, and soft spots.

Storage and Food Safety

Store apples at room temperature for 1–2 weeks or in the refrigerator for 1–2 months. Frozen apples can last for up to 8 months. Avoid washing apples until ready to use, but make sure to wash them well under running water to remove any pesticides and wax. To keep apple slices from browning, lightly coat them in lemon juice to prevent oxidation.

How to Prepare

Chop apples and toss them into oatmeal with cinnamon, or on top of whole-grain pancakes with yogurt. Toss some apples into your salad for lunch or incorporate apples into side dishes. Apples provide a sweet complement to proteins, like baked chicken, turkey, or pork. You can also enjoy crisp apples with cheese or nut butter for a snack.

Apples are also great a variety of baked dishes, including bread and desserts. Make your own apple crumble, apple pie, or apple strudel. Applesauce also serves as a popular substitute for cooking fats while baking, adding moisture and softness to your recipe.

Recipes

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Article Sources
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