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The nutritional value of apples appears to depend largely on the dietary fiber and other valuable nutrients found within them. Apples of all varieties typically contain large numbers of polyphenols, which can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As a whole food, apples are believed to lower blood cholesterol and help control blood sugar levels. The combination of polyphenols and dietary fiber generally found in whole apples is believed to help decrease appetite, and some researchers think that eating whole apples can help maintain an appropriate balance of normal flora in the lower digestive tract. Apples are generally a low-calorie food, high in vitamins A and C, and also offering some calcium, phosphorous, folate, and potassium.
The typical medium-sized apple weighs about 4.5 ounces (125 grams) and contains about 65 calories. Apples may contain a very small amount of fat, but they generally contain no saturated fat or trans fat. They offer about 0.1 ounces (3 grams) of dietary fiber, and they usually contain about 0.5 ounces (13 grams) of simple carbohydrates.
Apples are, however, a valuable source of vitamin C, vitamin A and polyphenols. The polyphenols in apples are believed to have both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers believe that they may help to prevent asthma and lung cancer. They may help to lower blood cholesterol, and may be part of the reason why apples help to curb appetite and control blood glucose levels.
Nutritional experts generally recommend the consumption of at least two whole fresh fruits a day. The nutritional value of apples as a fresh fruit is believed to be much higher than the nutritional value of apples after they have been processed into sauce or juice. Researchers believe that much of the nutritional value of apples stems from the combination of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, and phytonutrients they provide when they are consumed whole as a fresh fruit. It is believed that the vitamins and nutrients found in apples can make their dietary fibers more accessible to the body.
Many of the most beneficial nutrients in apples can be found in the fruit's peel. Removing the peel may also remove much of the fruit's dietary fiber content. Peeling apples can also significantly lower their vitamin C content.
As part of a healthy diet, eating apples may help to control appetite. Some studies suggest that eating a fresh apple a few minutes before meal time can lower appetite, and calorie consumption during the meal. Dieters may be able to lower their calorie intake at a given meal by as much as 60 calories, even counting the calories found in the apple, while still feeling satisfied with the meal.