You probably remember your grandmother telling you, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Well, there's still a lot of wisdom in those words.
The health benefits of apples are actually even greater than your grandmother might have suspected. Two recent milestones in public health and nutrition, the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health and the National Academy of Science's Diet and Health, concur on the benefits of dietary fiber. The "roughage" or dietary fiber found in apples is still beneficial for stimulated regular bowel movement.
But fiber intake also has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders, including diverticulosis, hemorrhoids and possibly some types of cancer.
The water-soluble fiber fraction in apple pectin has been shown to have hypocholesterolemic (cholesterol-lowering) effects. Cholesterol has of course, been identified as a major contributor to coronary heart disease.
There are some indications that fiber may reduce blood pressure levels. Other studies have demonstrated that diets high in water-soluble fiber are associated with lower blood glucose and serum lipid levels in diabetics.
And of course apples are a good low-calorie source of carbohydrates, helpful in weight control programs.