Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Benefits of Apples

In the history of food, apples go right back to the Garden of Eden. The Bible is unclear as to what fruit Eve picked way back when, but it has been suggested it was an apple for good reason. Apples have been with us throughout history and have long been praised for their health benefits. The average apple is portable, tasty, has about 65 calories and 3 grams of fiber, and offers lots of vitamin C and some other antioxidants. Apples contain pectin, a water-soluble fiber that is known to help lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. When our grandmothers said that an apple a day kept the doctor away, they might have been on to something.

Apples offer some specific health benefits.
· Diabetics—eat your apples! Apples contain flavonoids and phytonutrients (plant stuff) that regulate blood sugar. Not only that, apples contain galacturonic acid, a substance that lowers the body’s need for insulin.
· Apples contain quercetin and naringin, two cancer-fighting substances.
· Apples fill you up but don’t add a lot of calories, making them perfect for dieters or for anyone trying to maintain a normal weight. Eating an apple before a meal can help reduce what you eat in the meal.
· Apples are a heart-healthy food and may lower the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular heart disease. It is not clear how this happens—whether it’s something in the apples or whether it’s because people who eat a lot of apples tend to have more normal weights.
· Apples contain something called phloridzin, a flavonoid or plant nutrient, which supports bone health and promotes greater bone density. Apples are the only substance known to contain this. So if you’re worried about osteoporosis, supplement your calcium tablets with a daily apple or two (You can eat two … they’re that low in calories.).
· Quercetin, an antioxidant found in apples, can help increase lung function and endurance.

Adding apples to your diet is easy—apples are available all over the country in just about every grocery store. But don’t be fooled. The best way to add apples to a healthful diet is to eat them the way they come from the tree—fresh. The more you process the apple, the less perfect it becomes. Applesauce is fine, but it’s not as good for you as a real apple. Apple juice is good, too, but it’s not nearly as good as a real apple. Stay close to the tree and you’ll maximize health benefits.

There are more than 2500 varieties of apples grown across the United States and 7500 types around the world! Depending on whether you like your apple crisp or tender, sweet or tart, for cooking, baking, pie or eating out-of-hand there are sure to be at least a few varieties that will suit your taste. Here are just a few we can recommend:
If you like your apples sweet, look for:
· Gala
· Fuji
· Honeycrisp
· Jongold

· Pink lady If you prefer a more tart apple, sample: · Granny Smith · Winesap · Mutsu · Braeburn In general, if you like apples, you can’t find a “bad” variety.

To find more kinds of apples visit apple orchards and farm stands. Apples keep well in the refrigerator for about six weeks.