Apple trees are large if grown from seed, but small if grafted onto roots (rootstock). There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including cooking, eating raw and cider production. Apples are generally propagated by grafting, although wild apples grow readily from seed. Trees and fruit are prone to a number of fungal, bacterial and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means. In 2010, the fruit's genome was decoded as part of research on disease control and selective breeding in apple production.
About 80 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2013, and China produced almost half of this total.The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production. Turkey is third, followed by Italy, India and Poland. Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many prepared foods (especially desserts) and drinks. Many beneficial health effects are thought to result from eating apples; however, two types of allergies are attributed to various proteins found in the fruit.
Apples are the second most popular fruit in the US (bananas are the first),1 with each American eating about 19 pounds a year.
Undoubtedly, many of those apples are consumed right now, during the fall, which is peak season for apples in the US. This is one sweet treat that you can feel good about eating, too, as apples are packed with disease-fighting vitamins, antioxidants and more, easily making them one of the top-ranked fruits for your health
Apples Ranked Second Highest for Antioxidant Activity
Compared to other commonly consumed fruits in the US, apples ranked second for highest antioxidant activity. However, they ranked highest for the proportion of free phenolic compounds, which means they are not bound to other compounds in the fruit and therefore may be more easily absorbed into your bloodstream.
Notably, much of apples' antioxidant power is contained in the peel, where you'll find antioxidants like catechin, procyanidins, chlorogenic acid, ploridizin and more.
Apples are filled with soluble fiber (5 grams)
This fiber has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders, including diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and possibly some types of cancer.
Helps control insulin levels by releasing sugar slowly into the bloodstream.
Cleanses and detoxifies, which helps eliminate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury.
According to Chinese Medicine: Apples strengthen the heart, quench thirst, lubricate the lungs, decrease mucous and increase body fluids.
A wealth of research suggests that eating apples may impact your health in a number of beneficial ways:
Brain Health: Apples have been found to protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity and may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Stroke: Eating apples is linked to a decreased risk of stroke.
Diabetes: Three servings of apples (and other fruits, such as blueberries and grapes) is linked to a 7 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
This may be due to their beneficial role in blood sugar regulation, as apples contain compounds that may:
Lessen absorption of glucose from your digestive tract
Stimulate beta cells in your pancreas to secrete insulin
Increase uptake of glucose from your blood by stimulating insulin receptors
Cancer: Apples have a number of properties that may help reduce the risk of cancer, including antimutagenic activity, antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory mechanisms, antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing activity, as well as "novel mechanisms on epigenetic events and innate immunity." According to the journal Planta Medica.
"Apple products have been shown to prevent skin, mammary and colon carcinogenesis in animal models. Epidemiological observations indicate that regular consumption of one or more apples a day may reduce the risk for lung and colon cancer."
Heart Disease: Eating apples is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease, an association that's thought to be related to their content of antioxidant flavonoids.
An apple has only 50-80 calories and has no fat or sodium
Apples provide a source of potassium which may promote heart health