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CSIRO research summarises apple health benefits


A new CSIRO summary of research has highlighted even more health benefits to eating apples.

The CSIRO report summarised the latest research into the health benefits of apples (Download the report).

The summary, titled Translating the scientific evidence for apples and pears into health messages, highlights a growing body of scientific evidence that shows regularly eating apples can help keep your heart healthy, control appetite, and assist with weight loss.

Emerging research also links eating apples with healthier gut bacteria. Leading health and lifestyle expert Dr Joanna McMillan said we were still discovering just how important a daily apple could be to our overall health.

“We know crunching on an apple makes us feel great. What we are now learning is how the compounds in apples, especially polyphenols and apple fibre actually help our bodies,” says Dr McMillan. “This new evidence makes it even more important to eat the whole apple, skin and all, to ensure you’re getting all the goodness, because a lot of the antioxidants, fibre and polyphenols are found close to or in the skin.”

Leading health expert Dr Joanna McMillan shares her insights on the benefits of eating apples based on CSIRO’s research findings.

The CSIRO summary, commissioned by Hort Innovation and funded by the industry marketing levy, involved reviewing the abstracts of 122 studies on apples and their health benefits that were published in scientific journals between 2010 and 2016. Based on the CSIRO summary of research, here are Dr Joanna McMillan’s five top reasons to get your crunch on and eat an apple a day:

  1. Apple Eaters Weigh Less: Eating whole apples can help control your appetite and assist with weight loss, by helping you feel fuller for longer. Studies have shown that both adults and children who eat apples regularly are more likely to have a lower BMI. Initially researchers believed it was the low energy density of apples that helped manage weight. More recent animal research suggests the dietary fibre (pectin) and polyphenols in apples may also play a role in appetite and weight control.
  2. Good For Gut Health: Emerging research shows eating apples is associated with healthier gut bacteria. It is believed eating apples results in positive changes to gut bacteria (or microbiota). While the exact health effects of this are not yet known, the gut microbiome (the genes of the microbiota) are now understood to play an important role in maintaining good health and preventing disease.
  3. Put The Crunch On Cancer: Regularly eating apples is associated with a reduced risk of some of the most common forms of cancer. This has been shown for breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  4. Keep Your Ticker Healthy: There is a strengthening body of scientific evidence that a regular apple habit is good for your heart. Apples and their nutritional components help lower total and LDL cholesterol. While observational studies link eating more apples with a reduced risk of stroke, hypertension and a range of heart disease risk factors. Emerging research from the University of Western Australia also suggests that eating apples may improve blood pressure and elasticity of blood vessels.
  5. Ideal Snack For Kids: Apples are a great morning snack for kids and perfect for recess. Research shows apples are more effective than a glass of (semi-skimmed) milk at reducing morning munchies. Kids who regularly eat apples are more likely to have a lower BMI, better overall nutrition, a better diet and be at lower risk of obesity.

    More information

    Translating the scientific evidence for apples and pears into health messages
    James-Martin G, Williams G, Stonehouse W.
    Report for HIA. November 2016

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