Why Apples Really do Keep the Doctor Away
Apples are a well-discussed fruit; from the Garden of Eden and Snow White’s spell, to the tree of life where Heracles traveled to pick the golden fruit. In Greek mythology the apple is considered the sacred fruit of Aphrodite; standing for the gift of love, while in Biblical text the Apple is the forbidden fruit; a symbol for knowledge, temptation and sin.
Now, apples riddle our literature, fairy tales and every day life; along with bananas they are the most common fruit sold at grocery stores across the country and can be purchased anytime of the year. We give apples to school teachers and tout their ability to “keep the doctor away”, but do we really know what a plain old apple brings to the table?
The apple has acquired its fame for a good reason. Like an edible, whole-food multivitamin, apples are packed with nutrients and nourishing qualities. Amidst the recent craze around antioxidant rich foods, apples have been studied extensively for their unique polyphenol content (found primarily in their skins where they protect the apple from UV-B radiation), which is beneficial in the human body as well. One standout quality of these unique antioxidants found in the apple is the ability to decrease oxidation of fats in the cell membranes, which play a large role in determining the risk factor for artery clogging.
Apples have a myriad of other health benefits as well; they not only keep the doctor away but the dentist and the diet woes too!
- Apples have a unique polyphenol content that act as powerful antioxidants that help decrease the risk of artery clogging fats in the cell membranes. Antioxidants in apples have also been linked to the improvement of asthmatic conditions and lung cancer.
- The unique polyphenol content and high level of water-soluble fiber, called pectin, in apples have significant cardiovascular benefits. Total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol are lower in people who consume apples on a regular basis. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cholesterol lowering properties help keep your heart and entire vascular system healthy!
- Polyphenols help regular our digestion and blood sugar balance by slowing down the metabolism of carbohydrates. Also, as the carbohydrates are digested, less of the glucose they turn into is absorbed into the bloodstream.
- With only about 100 calories per apple, and an array of nutrients including vitamins C and A, fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc, apples are a great food choice that will nourish and satiate without packing on the weight.
- Eating apples after a meal or drinking coffee has been shown to naturally clean your teeth!
I love apples, not only for their health giving qualities, but for their amazing array of flavors and textures and their versatility in sweet as well as savory dishes. There are thousands of unique varieties, may of which you will never find at your typical supermarket, but are well worth searching for.
Nickajacks have a beautiful tie-dyed skin of yellow, green and deep red, with a crisp tart flavor perfect for snacking on; they taste great, keep well and have been around since the 1800’s. Gingergolds are one of my all time favorites and have a sweet tangy flavor and firm texture. They are one of the juiciest varieties I have ever tried and are great sliced on a spinach salad with toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. Both of these varieties, and many others are available in Full Circle’s Green Grocery right now.
Check back Thursday for recipes, including a baked apple and maple oatmeal and a unique apple chutney!