Does Eating an Apple After Working Out Help?

Smiling teenage girl eating apple, close-up, tilt
The carbohydrates in an apple give you energy after your workout. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

During your workout, your body's metabolism functions at a higher rate, burning calories to fuel this burst of activity. Eating a post-workout meal refuels your body after its calorie expenditure. If you're trying to lose excess pounds or maintain a healthy weight, choose foods that are high in nutritive value and low in calories. Apples make a smart post-workout snack.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates act as a readily available fuel source for your body. Every cell in your body requires glucose for energy. When you eat a food rich in glucose or fructose, your digestive system has ready access to this energy source. Starches and larger sugars such as sucrose -- common table sugar -- require additional processing in your digestive system. A medium apple provides 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 19 grams of which are glucose and fructose. This easily accessible energy may help you bounce back after a strenuous workout.

Vitamins

While your body needs energy in the short term, it also requires certain micronutrients to carry out important metabolic processes over time. Apples contain vitamin C, an essential micronutrient for building and maintaining connective tissues in the body. This vitamin also bolsters your body's immune system. A medium apple provides about 14 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C intake for a healthy adult based on a 2,000 calorie diet. While very active people may need additional calories, they don't need extra vitamins, so these figures apply whether you're an athlete or just starting a new fitness regimen.

Electrolytes and Hydration

During exercise, your body cools itself through perspiration. When you lose water, you must replenish it with food and drinks. Losing water can also cause minor electrolyte imbalances. Electrolytes -- minerals in solution that regulate cell activity throughout your body -- include sodium, potassium and calcium. Although apples contain little natural sodium or calcium, they are a good source of potassium. Like most fresh fruits, they also contain plenty of water to help you rehydrate. Combining an apple with an ounce of low-fat cheese and a glass of water provides a snack that replenishes lost electrolytes and fluids quickly.

Fiber

Exercise can leave you feeling hungrier a few hours after your workout. If you're keeping your weight in check, this can thwart your intentions to eat sensibly. A study in the journal Nutrition Reviews, a publication of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, suggests that dietary fiber can help you eat fewer calories. Fiber swells in your stomach, leaving you feeling fuller with less food. A medium apple provides you with 4 grams of fiber in both soluble and insoluble forms. Eating apples with the skins on can maximize your fiber intake and minimize post-workout hunger.

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