The Content Of Vitamins In Apples: Calories, Health Benefits, Contraindications

Dean Rouseberg Author: Dean Rouseberg Time for reading: ~21 minutes Last Updated: September 12, 2022
The Content Of Vitamins In Apples: Calories, Health Benefits, Contraindications

Is one apple a day really a guarantee of excellent health? Such a well-known saying - "An apple a day and a doctor is not needed" seems to be a hackneyed cliché, let's figure out how true it is.

 

What vitamins are in apples

Is one apple a day really a guarantee of excellent health? Such a well-known saying - "An apple a day and a doctor is not needed" seems to be a hackneyed cliché, let's figure out how true it is.

According to the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, "Apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, reducing lipid oxidation and cholesterol levels." Not a bad list of benefits for one of the most affordable and easy-to-use fruits, isn't it?!

Study: Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits

The health benefits of apples are truly impressive. They are able to improve digestion, as they are high in fiber. In addition, apples are a major source of pectin, a soluble polysaccharide that binds to cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and slows down glucose absorption.

It's no denying that berries are always at the top of the list for antioxidant properties, but apples still rank second. Due to the diverse family of phytonutrients present in the pulp and skin of an apple, some research has linked eating apples to great health benefits.

 

Consider what vitamins and minerals are found in apples. The tables below show the amount of vitamins and minerals in 100 gr. apples.

vitamins in apples

Vitamin

Content in 100 gr

Percentage of Daily Value

Vitamin A

3.0 µg

0.3%

beta carotene

27.0 mcg

0.5%

Vitamin E

0.2 mg

1.2%

Vitamin K

2.2 mcg

1.8%

Vitamin C

4.6 mg

5.1%

Vitamin B4

3.4 mg

0.7%

Vitamin B5

0.1 mg

1.2%

Vitamin B9

3.0 µg

0.8%

As we can see, apples are especially distinguished by the content of vitamin E, K, C, B5. For comparison, 100 grams of bananas contain only 0.1 mg of vitamin E and 0.5 μg of vitamin K. And in pears, for example, only 0.1 mg of vitamin E, and vitamin B5 is almost completely absent. However, despite the fact that apples are rich in vitamins, we must understand that it is impossible to replenish the daily requirement of vitamins by eating only apples. For example, apples contain ten times less vitamin C than oranges - one apple weighing 150 grams provides us with only 8% of the necessary vitamin C.

All fruits are good in their own way and the key to success is variety! The more different sources of fruits and vegetables you have in your diet, the more variety of vitamins and minerals you will get.

minerals in apples

Mineral

Content in 100 gr

Percentage of Daily Value

Calcium

6.0 mg

0.6%

Iron

0.1 mg

1.2%

Magnesium

5.0 mg

1.3%

Phosphorus

11.0 mg

1.6%

Potassium

107.0 mg

2.3%

Sodium

1.0 mg

0.1%

Fluorine

3.3 mcg

0.1%

Apples are rich in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron (contained in a non-heme form and not as well absorbed by the body). However, the same rule applies to minerals - in order to get more diverse minerals in your diet, you need to eat different fruits. So, in oranges, for example, 2 times more magnesium - 10 mg, 14 mg of phosphorus, 181 mg of potassium and 40 mg of calcium. And bananas have 3 times more potassium - 358 mg and 27 mg of magnesium. Therefore, try to fill your diet with different sources of fruits and then your body will receive a whole palette of various vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional value of apples

We now have hundreds of varieties of apples, ranging in color from bright red to yellow, green, pink, or two or three colors. They also come in different flavors and levels of sweetness. It is estimated that there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples grown in the world!

Study: Apples in the American Diet

According to the researchers, the phytochemical composition of apples varies greatly between different varieties. While different types of apples have their own benefits, according to some sources, good old red is considered to have the most antioxidants.

Apples contain 13.8 g of carbohydrates per 100 g of the product, which is approximately 95% of the total energy from a serving or 55 kcal.

Calorie content - 52 kcal.

 

Ingredients of apples:

  • Fats - 0.17 g;

  • Proteins - 0.26 g;

  • Carbohydrates - 13.81 g;

  • Water - 85.56 g.

Total content:

  • sugars - 10.4 g;

  • fiber - 2.4 g;

  • starch - 0.1 g;

  • cholesterol - 0.0 mg;

  • trans fats - 0.0 g.

Benefits of an apple for health

Apples are a source of antioxidants

Apples are a fruit high in antioxidants and a very important source of flavonoids. In the US, for example, 22 percent of the phenolic antioxidants consumed from fruits come from apples, making them the largest available source of these compounds.

Apples are second only to cranberries in terms of total phenolic content. Phenolic compounds are a class of bioactive substances that include flavonoids. Compared to all other fruits, apples have the most free phenolic compounds, which means that these molecules are not bound to other fruit compounds that can slow down their beneficial activity.

 

Studies show that beneficial antioxidants found in apples include: quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, chlorogenic acid. Thanks to these special compounds, apples not only help fight free radicals, but also have anti-proliferative (aimed at suppressing the excessive proliferation of various cells) action. Because both cardiovascular disease and cancer are thought to be closely linked to oxidative stress, apples' ability to fight free radical damage and oxidation makes them valuable.

What part of an apple is the healthiest?

It is preferable to eat the whole apple to get the most benefits (including the skin). When researchers studied the antioxidant capacity of pears and apples, they found that diets that included fruit peels had significantly higher levels of beneficial fatty acids (higher plasma lipids) and antioxidant activity than diets that did not use fruit peels but did. only fruit pulp.

Study: Antioxidants of Apples, Fruit and vegetable intake and prostate cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, Antioxidant Enrichment and Antimicrobial Protection of Fresh-Cut Fruits Using Their Own Byproducts: Looking for Integral Exploitation, Apple intake and cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

Apples help fight inflammation

Phytochemicals found in colorful fruits, including phenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids, are known to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases (which are common but largely preventable). This is because phytonutrients reduce inflammatory responses and prevent high levels of oxidative stress.

Studies show that foods high in antioxidants are associated with reduced cognitive aging, diabetes, weight control, bone health, lung function, and gastrointestinal protection.

Study: A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health

Apples are rich in fiber

There is strong evidence that a diet high in fiber, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, can help reduce the risk of numerous chronic diseases. Many studies show that people who eat more fresh, plant-based foods filled with antioxidants have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Recommended

"The benefits of turmeric for the face: recipes for masks and drinks" More

A certain type of fiber found in apples (pectin) is especially known for its benefits in lowering cholesterol levels naturally. A 2003 study found that when rats were fed a diet high in apple pectin extract and freeze-dried apples (cold-dried to preserve their natural flavor and nutritional properties), they had significantly lower levels of cholesterol and triglyceride absorption than controls. . The group of rats that received both apple pectin and dried apples (instead of either one) experienced the greatest improvement. This suggests that it is the interaction between fiber and polyphenols in apples together that plays an important role.

Study: Apple pectin and a polyphenol-rich apple concentrate are more effective together than separately on cecal fermentations and plasma lipids in rats

One study followed adults over a 15-year period and found that, in general, higher consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease.

Study: Lifestyle-Related Factors, Obesity, and Incident Microalbuminuria: The CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) Study

Apples improve digestion

Each apple contains more than four grams. fiber, which makes them just the perfect product. An apple is a great way to make sure you're eating your 25-30 grams of fiber per day.

Research shows that eating a high-fiber diet helps fight digestive problems like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Higher fruit and vegetable intake correlates with improved overall digestive health, especially in the colon, stomach, and bladder. The phytonutrients found in apples can help protect the digestive system from oxidative stress and balance pH levels.

Eating plenty of high-fiber foods is also a great way to support your microbiota. By microbiota, we mean the collection of microbes that inhabit our body (the large intestine is the most densely populated organ). The gut microbiota is one of the determinants of our health - gut bacteria play a critical role in maintaining immune and metabolic homeostasis and defense against pathogens. Disorders of the gut microbiota, or dysbiosis, are associated with many health problems (not only within the gastrointestinal tract, but also outside of it). How can we support our comrades in the gut? Eating enough fiber every day, like the pectin in apples, is great food for our bacteria.

 

Pectins (from the Greek pektos - “coagulated, frozen”) are vegetable polysaccharides of a complex structure, in other words, soluble dietary fiber. Apple pectin is called a natural orderly - it is believed that it removes harmful substances from the human body without disturbing the natural bacteriological balance. In addition, apple pectin promotes the growth and reproduction of bacteria beneficial to the intestinal flora, and also helps to normalize stools.

apples help you lose weight

Many studies have shown that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with protection against obesity. While apples are high in important nutrients and antioxidants, they are also low in calories (a large portion of their volume is water and fiber).

Because they also contain dietary fiber (which contains no digestible calories and is good for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels), apples can satisfy your sweet tooth without bringing in a lot of calories. Replacing, for example, chocolate and brownies with an apple will help you get a sweet taste, reduce calories, and reap a host of health benefits (which, alas, brownies cannot boast).

Study: Relationship of fruit and vegetable intake with adiposity: a systematic review

Apple instead of chocolate

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that eating five or more combined servings of fruits and vegetables daily significantly reduced the risk of diabetes in adults. It may seem counterintuitive that fruits and vegetables that naturally contain some sugar are inversely associated with the incidence of diabetes, but this has been proven time and time again by research. Certain flavonoids present in apples and other fruits are known to improve insulin sensitivity. This is the key to preventing both diabetes and long-term weight gain. Other antioxidants and fiber found in apples also play a role in their anti-diabetic effects. Of course, in any case, it must be remembered that fruits are rich in fructose and their excessive consumption will also not have positive effects.

 

Since apples are high in fiber, they are considered low glycemic fruits. Compared to refined carbohydrates or sweetened foods, apples have the ability to release sugar into the bloodstream more slowly. This means they keep blood sugar levels more stable and prevent glucose fluctuations that could potentially lead to insulin resistance. Despite this, any fruit, including apples, should be consumed in moderation.

Study: Fruit and vegetable consumption and diabetes mellitus incidence among US adults

Apples help fight asthma symptoms

Interestingly, apples can act as a natural remedy for asthma. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of 1,600 adults, consumption of apples and pears was associated with a reduced risk of asthma and bronchial hypersensitivity.

The study surveyed about 600 people with asthma and 900 people without asthma about their diet and lifestyle. Overall fruit and vegetable intake was found to be weakly associated with asthma, but apple consumption showed a stronger inverse association with asthma. The beneficial effect was most evident in subjects who ate at least two apples per week.

Recommended

"Turmeric and pressure: how it affects, recipes for normalizing pressure" More

What's also interesting is that this unique benefit has only been found in apples. Consumption of onions, tea, and red wine has not been associated with asthma, although they also contain similar phytochemicals. This suggests that there are specific interactions of apple flavonoids that help control asthma symptoms better than other antioxidants and nutrients.

Study: Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits

Apples are a source of boron

Finally, one of the little-known facts about apples: apples are one of the best natural sources of boron. Boron is a mineral that is important for strong bones (helps prevent osteoporosis). Boron uses and benefits include aiding in the production of sex hormones, building muscle mass, and supporting brain function. Some evidence also suggests that low boron intake may be associated with fatigue, arthritis, and mood changes.

The use of apples in medicine and Ayurveda

The traditional use of apples is to help treat digestive problems such as constipation. Apples are also believed to have cooling and astringent properties that help relieve heartburn. Due to their antioxidants and vitamin C, apples have traditionally been used to cleanse the mouth and teeth. They have also been used to prevent diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency.

In folk remedies, apples have been used in a variety of ways, including making vinegar, herbal teas, and alcohol. Apples and their leaves were also traditionally chewed and applied to the skin to treat inflammation, swelling, boils, or infected bites.

Uses of apples in Ayurveda
  • In Ayurvedic medicine, stewed/boiled apples are recommended to prevent constipation.

  • Apples are considered beneficial for balancing the energy of Kapha. In other words, they help reduce lethargy, weight gain, sinus congestion, allergies, and colds.

  • Apples also increase Vata and Pitta.

  • Cooked apples help rekindle the "digestive fire" and "boost immunity and strength."

  • In Ayurvedic cuisine, apples and other fruits are used to make chutneys (a group of traditional Indian sauces) and jams. They are often paired with spices such as cinnamon, fennel, dry-roasted ground cumin, ginger, and coriander.

How to choose and store apples

Apples are now available all year round. The peak season is in autumn, but they can be found almost any time. When choosing apples at the grocery store or farmer's market, try to find organic apples. Unfortunately, the Environment Working Group has listed apples as one of the "dirty dozen" fruits and vegetables most exposed to chemicals over the past eight years. A 2015 study found that apples were the fruit/vegetable with the most pesticides out of the 48 different species that were studied!

Study: EWG's 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, Apples Top Dirty Dozen List for Fifth Year in a Row

Does it really matter? Yes! A recent study shows that people who buy organic produce have lower levels of organophosphate insecticides in their bodies, although they eat more food than people who buy mainly traditionally grown fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it is always the best choice to buy local and seasonal products.

Study: EWG's 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Rules for eating apples. How to Preserve the Nutrients in Apples

During long-term storage, the amount of nutrients in apples decreases, this is especially pronounced in vitamin C (vitamin C is destroyed during long-term storage, grinding or heat treatment of the fruit). Apples of summer varieties lie on average for two to four weeks, autumn and winter varieties can lie from seven months to a year. For the preservation of summer varieties of apples, it is important that the temperature does not drop below 0 ° C, winter varieties withstand temperatures down to -3 ° C, but they do not tolerate temperatures above + 5 ° C and deteriorate.

 

During storage, apples emit ethylene, which causes rapid ripening and spoilage of fruits and vegetables stored with them - therefore, it is recommended to store them separately from other products. For the preservation of apples during long-term transportation and storage, they are covered with wax or treated with special preparations to prevent rotting processes. Therefore, apples should always be washed well under hot water before use.

Study: About recommendations for eating apples

The way apples are prepared and processed can also affect nutrient availability. Many of the antioxidants found in apples are considered "tender" - they are best preserved when apples are consumed raw or lightly cooked. High temperatures can adversely affect the apple's nutrients.

Try to avoid any packaged apple products. Remember that it is always preferable to eat a whole apple. However, homemade apple juice is definitely better than store-bought. A natural product contains naturally occurring enzymes, vitamins and phytonutrients that are normally missing or destroyed during major manufacturing processes. Just limit the portion of juice so as not to go overboard with sugar.

Dangerous properties of apples and contraindications

Apples, along with peaches and kiwis, are one of the fruits that can cause allergic reactions. This can occur within minutes of ingestion of the trigger food and present with itching and swelling in the mouth, lips, and throat. If you or your children experience these reactions after eating apples, consider doing an allergy test before eating them again.

 

For some people, apples can cause digestive problems. This is because they contain FODMAP carbohydrates, which are difficult for some people to break down. Apples, along with pears and some other fruits and vegetables, have the potential to ferment in the gut and cause IBS, bloating, and digestive discomfort. If you have these issues and can't figure out why, you can experiment with following a low FODMAP diet for a period of time.

Study: Allergenic Foods and their Allergens, with links to Informall

Ways to use in cooking

Apples can be used in many different ways. Add them to salads or sauces. Make low sugar applesauce. Stew or bake them with cinnamon, make juices and smoothies from fresh apples.

To make it easier for you to include apples in your diet, we have prepared healthy and delicious recipes with them.

 
apple fritters

Ingredients:

  • apple - 1 pc

  • egg - 1 pc.

  • amaranth flour - 4 tbsp. l

  • olive oil - 5 g

Cooking method:

  1. Peel the apple and grate it on a coarse grater.

  2. Then add egg, flour and mix.

  3. Put the dough in the form of small pancakes on a greased frying pan and fry over low heat under a lid on both sides until cooked.

  4. Serve with coconut yogurt, berries and boiled egg.

Rye biscuit with apples and cranberries

Ingredients:

For a mold with a diameter of 25 cm

Korzh:

  • rye flour - 250 g

  • water - 100 g

  • olive oil - 40 g

  • salt - 1 tsp

  • cardamom - a pinch

Filling:

  • apples - 2 pcs.

  • orange - 1 pc.

  • cranberries - a handful

  • Jerusalem artichoke syrup or coconut sugar/panel

  • Cinnamon

Recommended

"Water in food: effects on the body, weight loss" More

Cooking method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the crust. Roll out the dough into a circle, put it in a detachable form or a pizza circle, form the sides.

  2. Place the cake in the oven at 180°C for 5 minutes.

  3. Cut apples: one - into small cubes, the second - into thin plates. Peel and cut the orange into small pieces.

  4. Put on the cake first a layer of small apples, then plates, after - oranges. Sprinkle cranberries on top, but don't overdo it. Literally a small handful.

  5. Pour syrup over the filling or sprinkle with dry sweetener, and then - always with cinnamon. Bake for 20 minutes until apples are soft.

Baked apple

Ingredients:

  • apple - 280 g

  • walnut - 15 g

  • honey - 25 g

  • cinnamon - 1 g

  • raisins - 15 g

Cooking method:

  1. Take a medium-sized apple, preferably Golden or Granny Smith.

  2. Cut off the top of the apple, set aside, you will need it as a lid.

  3. Remove the core of the apple with a spoon. Peel the resulting pulp from seeds and cut into cubes. In a separate bowl, mix the crushed walnut, honey, raisins, cinnamon together with the chopped apple.

  4. Put the resulting mass into an apple, close the cut top and place in the oven, heated to 180 degrees.

  5. Baking time - 15-20 minutes (depending on the type of apple).

Recommended

"TOP 15 unhealthy foods for adults and children, the most dangerous food additives" More
Baked quinoa with apples

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa

  • 1 glass of water

  • 2 eggs

  • 5 tablespoons applesauce

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons chopped pecans

  • ¾ cup apple

  • 1 teaspoon honey

Cooking method:

  1. Boil water, then add quinoa and cook for 10-15 minutes.

  2. Pour into an ovenproof bowl, add the eggs, applesauce, salt and cinnamon and place in the oven over low heat for 7 minutes.

  3. Top with pecans, apple and honey.

What is apple cider vinegar and how is it useful

Apples are also used to make one of the best fermented health foods: apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple cider that is fermented to produce health-promoting probiotics and enzymes, giving it significantly less sugar and calories than apple cider or apple juice.

Apple cider vinegar has been consumed for thousands of years. In fact, records show that we fermented apple juice into vinegar long before 5000 BC. Historically, apple cider vinegar has been used for many different purposes such as helping with liver detoxification, blood purification, lymph node cleansing, and boosting immunity. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates even prescribed to mix it with a small amount of honey to treat coughs and colds. In the 17th century, Europeans began to use vinegar for medicinal purposes. They began using it in syrups and antiseptics, and even as a gargle to get rid of germs.

Recommended

"The Healthiest Foods: Everyday Foods, How to Pair Foods Right" Read More

Today, apple cider vinegar is back in the spotlight and is starting to get the recognition it deserves for its health benefits. It can be added to salad dressings and marinades, or used as an effective all-natural home cleaner and disinfectant.

How is apple cider different from apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider is made from fresh pressed apples. It is similar to apple juice but is not filtered or processed in the same way. Apple cider vinegar is actually made from apple cider that has been fermented by yeast and bacteria that convert sugar into alcohol. It then undergoes a second fermentation process, during which the alcohol is converted into acetic acid. This fermentation process is responsible for many of the benefits of apple cider vinegar.

How to use apple cider vinegar?

  1. Apple cider vinegar for cleaning

    One of the easiest and most effective ways to use apple cider vinegar is to mix it with water to make an all-natural household cleaner. Due to its antibacterial properties, it is ideal for killing germs and keeping the house clean.

     

  2. Apple cider vinegar for cleaning fruits and vegetables

    Many people wash fruits and vegetables with apple cider vinegar instead of water because of its ability to kill bacteria. Some also use it to remove chemical residue and reduce pesticide exposure, although more research is needed to determine if this is more effective than water alone.

     

  3. Keeps dishes clean

    Adding a little apple cider vinegar to your dishwashing detergent can be an easy and effective way to kill bacteria and keep your dishes clean. When using a dishwasher, some even recommend adding it directly to the water a few minutes after starting to enhance the bacteria-killing effect.

     

  4. Adds flavor to homemade salad dressings

    Apple cider vinegar can bring a zesty flavor to your favorite homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Simply mix with olive oil, salt, pepper and spices to easily “garnish” salads with a new flavor.

     

Recommended

"Nutrition for Diabetes: Basic Rules and Allowed Foods" More
apple cider vinegar recipe

Ingredients: 9 apples.

Preparation method 1:

  1. Peel apples from wormholes, if possible, retaining the peel, seeds, partitions and even sticks.

  2. Coarsely grate or pass through a juicer and take the cake.

  3. Put the resulting mixture in a 3l jar (sterilized or washed with soda).

  4. Pour boiled water (5-7 cm from the top) and completely cover the apples with it - 40% water, 60% cake.

  5. Place the dish in a warm place.

  6. After 2 weeks, strain the liquid through cheesecloth and pour into large fermentation jars.

  7. Put in a warm place for another 2 weeks.

  8. Without shaking, pour the finished vinegar into bottles without topping up to the very edge.

  9. Strain the sediment through a thick cloth. Cork bottles.

  10. Store in a dark place at a temperature of 4-20 degrees.

Preparation method 2:

  1. Take fresh apple juice.

  2. Cover with a clean cloth and put in a dark, warm place (in a dish).

  3. Stir every day with a wooden stick - saturate with oxygen.

  4. After 3-4 weeks, an acetic uterus (jellyfish) forms on top - do not mix anymore.

  5. Drop to the bottom after a week.

  6. Between the uterus and the cake there will be a cloudy brown liquid at first, when it becomes transparent - the vinegar is ready.

  7. Strain, bottle and store in the dark (12-15°C).

The material is based on research:
  • Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits

  • Apples in the American Diet

  • Antioxidants of Apples

  • Fruit and vegetable intake and prostate cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

  • Antioxidant Enrichment and Antimicrobial Protection of Fresh-Cut Fruits Using Their Own Byproducts: Looking for Integral Exploitation

  • Apple intake and cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

  • A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health

  • Apple pectin and a polyphenol-rich apple concentrate are more effective together than separately on cecal fermentations and plasma lipids in rats

  • Lifestyle-Related Factors, Obesity, and Incident Microalbuminuria: The CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) Study

  • Relationship of fruit and vegetable intake with adiposity: a systematic review

  • Fruit and vegetable consumption and diabetes mellitus incidence among US adults

  • Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits

  • EWG's 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

  • Apples Top Dirty Dozen List for Fifth Year in a Row

  • EWG's 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

  • About recommendations for eating apples

  • Allergenic Foods and their Allergens, with links to Informall

 

About | Privacy | Marketing | Cookies | Contact us

All rights reserved © ThisNutrition 2018-2024

Medical Disclaimer: All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that each post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, in which I receive a very small commission for referring readers to these companies.