3 Benefits of Apples for Children
Did you know that 2021 is the international year of fruits and vegetables? These foods are healthy and essential for health, but consumption in children often doesn’t reach the 5 recommended daily servings. Although all are equally beneficial, let’s focus on the benefits of apples for children.
The benefits of apples: Why are apples so important in the diet of children?
Apples are extremely popular. Not only are they found anywhere in the world, they’re also available throughout the year. For this reason, they’re the second most popular fruit on the planet.
In the case of children, apples are always a good option and it’s no coincidence that they’re one of the first options when it comes to starting complementary feeding.
Their benefits are countless, but we’re going to share the most important ones:
- They don’t require preparation: All you need to do is wash them and offer them in the different presentations, depending on the age of the child.
- They’re an easily digestible food, as water makes up 85% of their structure and they have an abundant amount of fiber.
- Thanks to their fiber and high fructose (sugar) content, they’re a satisfying food.
- They contain a large amount of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins C and A.
- They’re made up of various polyphenols (antioxidant substances), which give their characteristic colors, flavors, and textures.
All these properties help protect the health of children and prevent certain health conditions, such as the ones you’ll see below.
1. Apples decrease the frequency of intestinal diseases
As we’ve mentioned, apples are a source of fiber. Specifically, pectin, which is a very soluble compound that’s beneficial for the intestinal microbiota. This is mainly present in the skin of the fruit, intertwined with cellulose.
Fiber intake is key to avoiding constipation and reducing the risk of colon cancer. In addition, it prevents the appearance of inflammatory bowel diseases and the development of diverticula.
To be able to offer it to children, it’s best to roast the apples with the skin in the oven. This facilitates the release of pectin from cellulose, promotes its absorption, and facilitates the digestion of food. For this reason, it’s very useful in relieving the symptoms of gastroenteritis.
In the case of older children, you can also offer them raw and properly washed apples. According to a Japanese study published in Anaerobe, the benefits for the microbiota are similar to those of cooked fruit.
Two weeks after the start of consuming this fruit, positive changes can already be observed in the intestinal flora.
2. Apples reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity
Scientists say that consuming apples or pears daily reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. The more portions children digest each week, the greater the benefit.
Consuming apple helps reduce blood sugar levels, thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of polyphenols. In addition, pectin accelerates intestinal transit, and this delays the absorption of apple sugars.
When it comes to children who are overweight, this food helps them to lose weight and reduce the accumulation of fat, thanks to its high fiber content. In turn, polyphenols promote lipid (fat) metabolism and reduce the state of abdominal distension, which is characteristic of obesity.
3. Apples prevent cardiovascular diseases
Another benefit of apples for children is that they help reduce cardiovascular risk in the future, as indicated by a study published in the journal Nutrients.
The consumption of apples reduces blood levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, thanks to the action of the components of the fruit’s skin.
The intake of fruits in the diet for children
In summary, maintaining the habit of eating an apple every day is a good strategy to improve the health of children.
Remember that the best way to offer it is raw and with the skin on. But, in the case of younger children, you can choose to roast them with cinnamon and lemon, or shred them and offer them as purees. You can also add them to a sponge cake or slice them and toast them in the oven as if they were chips.
Finally, remember to eat them yourself as well, as children learn by imitation. Offer them without forcing and try several times! Vary the presentations you offer until your find the one they like the most.
Are you ready for the change? It’s never too late to take advantage of the benefits of apples and teach your kids good healthy habits.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- FAO. Año internacional de las frutas y las verduras. [Internet] Disponible en: http://www.fao.org/fruits-vegetables-2021/es/
- O’Neil, C E; Nicklas, T A; Fulgoni, V L (2015) Consumption of apples is associated with a better diet quality and reduced risk of obesity in children: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2010. Nutr J, 4:48.
- Sinohara, K; Kawasumi, K; Terada, A; Fijisawa (2010) Effect of apple intake on fecal microbiota and metabolites in humans. Anaerobe, 16(5): 510-15.
- Masumoto, S; Terao, A; Yamamoto, Y; Mukai, T; Miura, T; Shoji, T (2016) Non-absorbable apple procyanidins prevent obesity associated with gut microbial and metabolomic changes. Sci Rep, 6: 31208.
- Dreher, M L (2018) Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects. Nutrients, 10 (12): 1833.
- Guo, X; Yang, B; Tang, J; Jiang, J; Li, D (2017) Apple and pear consumption and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Food Funct, 8(3): 927-34.
- Zhao, C; Meng, X; Li, Y; Li, S; Liu, Q; Tang, G; Li, H (2017) Fruits for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases. Nutrients, 9(6): 598.