What’s so great about apples?

What’s so great about apples?

Trivia time! Sharon, Annie Elizabeth and Karin Schneider… girls you went to high school with or types of apple? Question 2: Duchess of Oldenburg, Duke of Devonshire and Lady Williams…. European royalty or apples? Ok, one more: Beautiful Arcade, Bloody Ploughman, Bright Future and Cameo…one hit wonders from the 80’s or apples? That’s right, all apples (ok to be fair that last one is also an 80’s one-hit wonder so bit of a trick question).  In researching this post I realized I’m an amateur when it comes to the most popular fruit. I’m all Honey Crisp this and Golden Delicious that when it turns out there are over 700 varieties of apples. And with the impressive nutrition punch they pack, there’s really no excuse not to find at least one that you love. Remember that Old English saying from your school days: “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed makes the doctor beg his bread” No?? Maybe you didn’t go to a fancy medieval grade school and only know the modern update: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Either way, turns out its kind of true.

Apples offer all the health benefits of most fruits. They’re a great source of fibre and vitamin C with no fat or cholesterol. They’re also low on the glycemic index which helps to avoid the spikes and drops in blood sugar that contribute to health issues and energy slumps. Of course they’re easily portable which makes them tops for school lunches (over, say a watermelon…although that is a slightly hysterical image!).

Apples are also high in polyphenols and flavanoids, both antioxidants shown to scoop up free radicals in the body before they cause harm, including the oxidative damage that can lead to Alzheimers. A number of studies have shown that apples and apple juice have a protective effect on the brain. Perhaps the most talked about and researched of the apple’s antioxidants is quercetin, which the American Cancer Society says “shows promise in being effective against a wide variety of diseases, including cancer.” In fact, according to one Cornell University Study, the consumption of apples was directly related to a decreased risk for the growth of breast cancer cells in animals. Plus, according to a 2011 article in Eating Well magazine, “the Iowa Women’s Health Study reported that, among the 34,000-plus women it’s been tracking for nearly 20 years, apples were associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease”.

But maybe the single greatest thing about apples is that most children seem to love them. Kids are fickle little creatures. It’s the reason that the cereal/pasta/chicken they loved last Tuesday will somehow offend their culinary senses by next Friday. And if you’ve ever tried reasoning with a hungry toddler at dinner time, may I direct you to our What’s So Good About red wine post? But surely with over 700 varieties, there must be one for your little one. Plus there’s that whole “keep the doctor away” deal!

Two caveats: apples regularly make the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of fruits and veggies with the most pesticide residue so it’s worth going organic or doing an extra good wash. Also, two thirds of the antioxidants are in the apple peel so go ahead and eat the whole thing.

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1 Comment

  1. […] Apples are one of the signals of the upcoming change in season – fall is just around the corner. As sad as we all are to see Summer 2012 come to an end, I’m looking forward to fall – pumpkin, Thanksgiving and Halloween! I love how flavorful apples are during the fall, so juicy and it seems as though you could smell them from a mile away. There are so many ways to enjoy apples, sweet in a dessert or savory in a sandwich. One of my favourite ways is just raw, in its simplest form on the way to school or work. Here are five apple recipes to make use of a favourite seasonal ingredient. Want to know a little more about apples? Read up on apples in our What’s So Great About Apples. […]

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