The Fiber in Apples Is Fall’s Gift for Gut Health

Jennifer Huddy, MS, RD

By Jennifer Huddy, MS, RD

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It’s well known that fiber is an essential part of a balanced diet. Not only does eating enough fiber help keep you regular, it can reduce the risk of many chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease (1). 

A bowl of oatmeal with sliced apples and raspberries with a wooden background.
Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

One of the highest-fiber fruits is the apple, which also contains many nutrients and antioxidants beneficial to digestive, cardiovascular, and metabolic health. 

If you’re looking to boost the fiber content of your diet, fruit isn’t the only way to do it. Whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and nuts are other nutrient-dense fiber sources. 

Continue reading to learn more about the fiber in apples and the health benefits of a high-fiber diet. 

Nutritional Benefits of Apples

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a popular phrase that’s backed by science. Apples are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (2). 

One medium fuji apple with the skin provides (3): 

  • 121 calories. 
  • 0.4 g protein.
  • 0.3 g fat. 
  • 20 g carbohydrates. 
  • 4 g fiber. 


Fresh apples contain vitamins C and E, both powerful antioxidants. Apples are also rich in polyphenols, which are beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant properties (2). 

Antioxidants are important for neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body. Diets rich in antioxidants are linked with a lower risk of many chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure (2). 

Antioxidant content varies by apple variety, with fuji, red delicious, and gala ranking the highest in the US (4).

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

The polyphenols in apples also have anti-inflammatory properties. Many health conditions involve chronic inflammation, such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity (2).

Though more research is needed, apple polyphenols may play a role in reducing inflammation in these disorders (2).

Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol present in apples, and these have been linked with many health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and cancer (4). 

Low Glycemic Index

Apples are a low-glycemic index fruit, meaning they do not significantly spike blood sugar levels. This is likely due to the rich fiber content of apples despite containing natural sugars (2). 

Research shows that regular consumption of apples may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (2). 

Other Nutrients

The zinc and vitamin C content of apples can help support a healthy immune system. Apples also contain potassium and small amounts of calcium, which are beneficial for bone health (2). 

Different Types of Fiber Found in Apples

Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, with insoluble fiber making up approximately 70% of an apple’s fiber content (2).

Soluble fiber absorbs water in the intestines, which slows down digestion. This can help stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease (5). 

The soluble fiber in apples comes mainly from pectin, which has been linked with digestive health and reductions in chronic inflammation (2).

On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not absorb water during digestion. It adds bulk to the stool, which promotes regularity (5).

Specific Amount of Fiber in an Average-Sized Apple

The fiber in apples is found in both the skin and the flesh. A medium-sized apple contains approximately 4 grams of total fiber, including the skin (3).

A medium apple without skin only contains around 2 grams of fiber (6). It’s important to eat apples with skin because they contain double the fiber content of peeled apples. 

Apple peels are also very rich in antioxidants, which is another benefit of eating the whole apple (4). 

Fiber Content in Apples Compared to Other Fruits

Apples have a high fiber content when compared to other fresh fruits (7): 

  • Apricots: 3.5 g in 4 fruits.
  • Raspberries: 3.3 g in 1 cup.
  • Mango: 3 g in ½ small fruit.
  • Orange: 3 g in 1 small fruit.
  • Pears: 2.9 g in ½ large fruit.
  • Strawberries: 2.8 g in 1 ¼ cup.
  • Peaches: 2 g in 1 medium fruit.
  • Blueberries: 1.4 g in ¾ cup.
  • Bananas: 1.1 g in ½ small fruit.
  • Grapes: 0.5 g in 15 small fruits.

Remember, like any fruit, the fiber in an apple depends on its size. For example, a small apple contains 3.3 grams of fiber, while a large one contains almost 5 grams of fiber (3).

The Role of Fiber in Digestion and Overall Health

Fiber-rich diets have been linked with numerous health benefits, from boosting digestive health to improving outcomes in cancer and cardiovascular disease (2). 

A high-fiber diet helps with digestive health by helping healthy gut bacteria grow. It also helps food move along the digestive tract, which can prevent constipation (1).  

Because dietary fiber slows down digestion, it can help with feelings of satiety and fullness after eating. This can be beneficial for supporting weight management efforts, though long-term studies are needed (1). 

Further, fiber can help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance. High-fiber diets are linked with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (1). 

Lastly, eating adequate fiber can reduce chronic inflammation in the body and the risk of heart disease, colorectal cancer, and all-cause mortality (1).  

Tips for Incorporating Fiber-Rich Foods Into Your Diet

Experts advise eating at least 25-30 grams of fiber daily, but most Americans eat less than ⅓ of this amount. Eating more minimally processed plant foods is the best way to increase your fiber intake (1).  

Good sources of fiber include:

  • Fruit, like apples, raspberries, and oranges.
  • Vegetables, such as artichokes, broccoli, and carrots.
  • Whole grains, including oats, brown rice, and barley.
  • Beans, peas, and lentils.
  • Nuts and seeds. 

Following the healthy plate method can be a great way to ensure you meet your daily fiber goal. It consists of filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. In addition, ¼ of your plate should come from high fiber and whole grain carbohydrates (8). 

Think about ways to add high-fiber foods to your meals. Make sure to slowly increase your fiber intake to avoid digestive upset. 

  • Add garbanzo beans or chopped apples to a salad. 
  • Include a side of fruit with your sandwich. 
  • Enjoy sliced apples as a snack with nuts or peanut butter.
  • Try a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit and berries for breakfast.