Apples, a member of the rose family, are low in calories and are fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free. About 2,500 varieties are grown throughout the United States, according to the University of Illinois Extension. Besides being a good source of fiber, apples contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help improve your health. Eating apples with their skin benefits your health because much of the fiber and antioxidants are in the skin.
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An Apple a Day ...
Eating one medium-sized apple provides 8.4 milligrams of vitamin C, according to the USDA. This amount equates to 9 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin C if you are a man and 11 percent if you are a woman. Your body needs vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, to synthesize collagen, a component of tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, skin and cartilage. Vitamin C also helps repair and maintain bones and teeth and helps wounds to heal. As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects DNA by reducing the harmful effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that help age the body and contribute to the development of diseases.
Sending a Strong Signal
One medium apple contains approximately 6 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin B-6, or pyridoxine. Vitamin B-6 helps your body create numerous neurotransmitters, chemicals that transmit signals from one nerve cell to another. Your body also needs this vitamin to produce the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which have a profound impact on your mood, and melatonin, which helps synchronize your body’s biological clock. Without vitamin B-6, your body cannot absorb vitamin B-12 properly and cannot make immune cells and red blood cells.
Fighting Off Free Radicals
Adding a medium-sized apple to your diet provides you with 4 to 5 percent of the riboflavin you need each day. Riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, helps your body capture energy from food and also acts as an antioxidant, battling damaging free radicals. Your body needs riboflavin for growth, production of red bloods cells and to convert folate and vitamin B-6 into usable forms.
Warding off Stress
A medium apple fulfills 3 to 4 percent of your daily thiamine requirement. Vitamin B-1 is also known as anti-stress vitamin because it powers up your immune system and improves your body’s ability to cope tense conditions. It is also involved in some metabolic reactions and helps produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, your body’s energy source.
- University of Illinois Extension: Apple Facts
- University of Illinois Extension: Apple Nutrition
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Apples, Raw, With Skin
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)