What makes apples so healthy?
You’ve probably heard the proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This saying was first recorded in Wales during the 1860’s with the original wording “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” Clearly apples have been recognized as a health food for a very long time, and for good reason.
Apples are one of the most cultivated and consumed fruits on the planet. They are very rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber, which elevates the humble apple to the rank of bonafide superfood. Studies suggest that apples may help reduce the risk of developing medical conditions like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more.
Here is a snapshot of the nutrition packed into each apple:
- Vitamin C: powerful antioxidant known for fighting free radicals and protecting the body against infectious agents
- B Vitamins: B-complex vitamins play an important role in keeping red blood cells and the body’s nervous system healthy
- Dietary fiber: key for smooth digestion and controlling blood sugar, fiber may also help prevent certain diseases as well as impede bad cholesterol
- Polyphenolic compounds: these phytonutrients help protect against the negative effects of free radicals
- Minerals: apples contain important minerals like calcium, potassium and phosphorus, which are critical for many functions including maintaining bone density, nerve health and proper cellular function
The best way to keep apples’ nutrition intact is to eat them raw since cooking can result in the loss of certain nutrients. Having said that, cooked apples are still a very wholesome food that can contribute to maintaining good overall health. For the best nutritional bang for your buck when cooking with apples, try to avoid using refined sugar and opt for whole-wheat substitutes where possible. Keep fats to a minimum and banish hydrogenated oils completely. Add extra nutrition by combining apples, cooked or raw, with other fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains.