Health Benefit of Apples
Sweet but with a lemony finish. Crisp, tangy to the point of tartness. Spicy and fragrant. No, we’re not discussing the merits of fine wines. We’re talking apples!
Time to celebrate the glory of the fruit. October is National Apple Month.
The vast variety of Flavors are shaped by their respective climates — the shorter the growing season the tarter the fruit — apples have been grown across the United States for centuries. But not until the last few decades, starting in the 1980s, have apple breeders offered such a variety and explosion of flavors: Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, SweeTango, and many more. Remember when there were only a few like Red Delicious or Golden Delicious or McIntosh to be found in grocery stores?
Apples should be credited with delivering an amazing number of health benefits, such as:
1. Fighting bad breath. Apples contain pectin, which helps control food odors. Pectin also promotes saliva, which cleanses breath.
2. Preventing asthma attacks. Asthma sufferers often have low levels of antioxidants. Apples are high in vitamin C and flavonoids (beneficial, water-soluble plant pigments). Both are antioxidant. One study found that vitamin C supplements helped protect against exercise-induced asthma.
3. Reducing the risk of stroke. A study involving 9,208 men and women showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk for stroke. Researchers concluded that the results suggest the intake of apples is related to a decreased risk of thrombotic stroke.
4. Preventing constipation. Fresh apples are high in fiber, which adds bulk to the stool. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, or roughage.
5. Combating fatigue. The high vitamin C and antioxidant content in apples counter the free radicals leading to oxidative stress, which has been linked to fatigue.
6. Reducing the risk of diabetes. The phytonutrients (beneficial substances found in various plants) in apples help regulate blood sugar.These compounds help prevent spikes in blood sugar in a variety of ways: by inhibiting enzymes involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars; by stimulating pancreatic cells to produce insulin; by decreasing the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
Compared to other commonly consumed fruits in the U.S, these nutritional powerhouses ranked second for highest antioxidant activity. However, they ranked highest in the proportion of free phenolic compounds—substances not bound to other compounds in the fruit and thus more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
So stock up on a good supply of apples for this season. And don’t cut off the peels. They contain much of apples’ fiber and antioxidant power.
In addition to the crunchy beauties in the fruit bowl, don’t forget to try some of the apple treats found in 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies and the Science Behind Them.
Here are two recipes to get you started:
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Coarsely grate the apple into a small bowl. Mix in the walnuts and raisins. Add the lemon juice and toss. Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.
For chilly autumn days or if you feel a cold coming on and want to soothe an irritated throat.
1 quart apple juice or cider
1 quart water
1 cinnamon stick
3 or 4 whole cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Fresh lemon juice
Pour the juice and water into a large pan. Add the spices. Heat until just beginning to boil. Turn the heat to low, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the cinnamon stick and cloves. Enjoy each cup with a squirt of lemon juice.
Article by B.H. Seeber.
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