An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away

An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away | Mr Vitamins
This old saying has real wisdom... "An apple a day keeps the doctor away” For many of us the first fruit that comes to mind is an apple.  A fresh apple tastes good, it is versatile, easy to carry anywhere and  needs very little preparation. Most Australians are well aware of the history of the Granny Smith apple rising from the shores of Sydney’s Lane Cove River in 1867. Apples have been around long enough to be mentioned in the Bible as the ‘fruit of knowledge’ . did you know that remains of apples have been found in Stone Age Villages in Europe from over 3,000 years ago. There are over 7,000 varieties of apples. Popular varieties grown in Australian include Granny Smith, Delicious, Jonathon, Royal Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, Sundowner and Jazz.

What are the Nutritional Benefits of Apples?

Apples are a good source  pectin and malic acid, rich in anthocyanins and flavonoids (both powerful antioxidants) including  quercetin, phytochemicals (in the skin) as well as providing vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, and trace amounts of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, biotin, folate, and vitamin E. A medium sized apple (100g) provides 240 kilojoules, 0.4 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, 19.1 grams of carbohydrates, 14.3 grams of sugar and 3.3 grams of fibre. For a more detailed breakdown of the nutritional components of an apple, the iPad App, A-Z Food Nutrition Facts provides a handy guide for a full nutritional profile for most fruit and vegetables.

How can an apple a day help to keep the doctor away?

  • Improves digestion – as an excellent source of pectin and malic acid, apples help to stimulate digestion and cleanse the digestive system by helping to eliminate toxins from your small intestine.
  • The pectin in apples helps to reduce the amount of cholesterol produced by your liver which can help to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Malic acid from an apples supports your liver.
  • Apples have a low glycemic index and are considered a good fruit for diabetics and hyperactive children.
  • Chewing an apple stimulates the gums and the sweetness increases the flow of saliva both of which can help to reduce tooth decay and lower the levels of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Research on the benefits of exposure to apple and apple products has beneficial effects on risk markers, and etiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease. 1
  • Other health benefits include slowing down the cognitive decline of normal aging, diabetes, weight management, bone health, pulmonary function and gastrointestinal protection. 1

What  to look for when buying apples?

As a rule, red apples are usually sweeter than green apples. Apples should be firm and crisp and have a good colour.  Apples that have been picked when immature and ripened artificially are less vibrant. Mature apples have more colour, better flavour and store longer. To check the ripeness of an apple, a  good test is to gently flick the apple near its stem, a dull sound means it’s ripe and a hollow sound means it’s overripe.

What’s the best way to prepare and store apples?

Apples are among the top listed foods for containing pesticide residues. Organically grown apples should be washed gently under cool running water and then patted dry with a paper towel.  Non-organic apples are best washed with a commercial produce wash, such as Enviroclean Fresh fruit and Vegetable Wash followed by a gentle wash under cool running water and then patted dry. Apples are best stored away from direct sunlight and will last longer and retain their best nutritional value if stored in the fridge.

Tips for serving apples!

  • To prevent apples from browning when slicing for a recipe, put the apples into a bowl of cold water with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • As well as being added to fruit salads, apples make a delicious complement to fresh green salad.
  • Sliced apples are a tasty additional to a cheese platter.
  • For a quick and easy winter essential side dish - slice and sauté one apple, one potato and one onion.
  • Thinly sliced apple (skin on) baked in the oven for 40 minutes make a nutritious and warm snack.
  • Grated apple with a little cinnamon add extra flavour to yoghurt.
  • Lightly stewed, warm apple and a spoon full of honey add flavour to a bowl of porridge

Bon Appetit from Naturopath Janne Ramsay!