An apple a day really may keep the doctor away! Research shows that the combination of phytochemicals in apples plays an important role in antioxidant and anti-cancer activity.Â This complex mix of phytonutrients works synergistically to:
Promote Heart Health
- The mix of soluble and insoluble fiber in apples work together to lower cholesterol and to decrease risk of arterial plaque build-up, heart attack, and stroke. Insoluble fiber works like bran-it attaches to LDL (bad) cholesterol in the digestive track and removes it from the body. Soluble fiber reduces the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver. The result? A powerful one-two punch for cardiovascular health!
- Quercitin, a powerful antioxidant found in apple skin, is especially potent when teamed with Vitamin C.
- Anthocyanins, natural food pigments help lower LDL and prevent blood clots.
Provide Cancer Protection
- Quercitin, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and vitamin C team up for powerful antioxidant activity.
- Glutathione is an antioxidant that boosts immune system function.
Promote Digestive Health
- Fiber helps regulate bowel activity.
Promote Lung Health
- Quercitin, phenolic acids, and vitamin C protect the lungs and help reduce the symptoms of respiratory ailments.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT APPLES:
- Archeological evidence suggests that apples were eaten as early as 6500 B.C. The only apple native to North America is the crabapple. Colonists planted the first cultivated apples in North America in the early 1600’s.
- Over 7500 apple varieties are grown throughout the world, with 2500 varieties in the U.S. Only a small percentage of these varieties are of commercial importance.
- The top five apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California.
- Peak apple season is fall through early winter, although many varieties are available year round thanks to importation and cold storage. Apples stored carefully at room temperature stay fresh for almost a year!
- Apples are one of the “dirty dozen”-thin skinned fruits that absorb and hold pesticide residue in their flesh. Whenever possible, buying organic is the way to go. Remember, even organic fruit contains some pesticide residue (the stuff that falls out of the sky!). Always wash produce before eating.
- One apple provides as much dietary fiber as a bowl of bran cereal. A single, unpeeled apple provides almost 4 grams of dietary fiber.
- Adding one large, unpeeled apple per day to your diet has been shown to decrease serum cholesterol by 8-11%.
- Cooking apples destroys Vitamin C and glutathione, both immune boosters. However, cooking makes heart healthy pectin, the soluble fiber in apples, more bioavailable. Both fresh and cooked apples (with peels intact whenever possible!) should be part of a healthy eating plan.
- Apple juices, even organic varieties, don’t pack the same nutritional punch as whole apples.
- The best apples for cooking are those that retain their shape and texture, such as yellow delicious, Granny Smith, Braeburn, and Rome Beauty. The texture of certain apples, such as red delicious, does not hold up well when cooked. Some apples, like Rome Beauty, are mealy when raw, but sweet and well textured when cooked.
- Apple seeds, like many fruit seeds, contain compounds that release cyanide when broken down. A few apple seeds chewed by a young child could result in poisoning, so watch those seeds!
- Fully ripe apples will be heavy and firm, with vibrant color and fresh smell. Yellow and green varieties are best selected with a slight “blush”.
- Heavy apples have a higher moisture content, which makes them less likely to be mealy.
- Ripe apples will last 7 days in the fridge. Apples ripen 6-10 times faster at room temperature. If you want to hasten the ripening of apples, put them in a paper bag at room temperature. Apples release a gas that speeds the ripening process. You can also time lapse the ripening of other fruits such as bananas, kiwis, peaches, pears, and plums by storing them with apples.
- Avoid storing apples with certain vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower. The gas given off by the apples will damage these vegetables.