An apple a day keeps the doctor away- yes guys, it’s true.
I adore apples. Why you ask? Well, they are yummy, full of Mother Nature’s goodness, portable and relatively inexpensive compared to other fruit.
Originating in the Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan millions of years ago, the apple has been part of the human diet for tens of thousands of years. Just in time for the change of seasons, here are a few more fun facts about this nutritious and delicious fall staple. They were cultivated in Jamestown—but not for eating. North American apple harvesting began with the settlers at Jamestown in 1607. They brought with them seeds and cuttings from Europe, and while the original varieties planted were not all suited for cultivation in the New World, their seeds began to produce all-new varieties of American apples. Many of these apples were still fairly bitter, unlike the sweet varieties we enjoy today, but they had an important purpose in colonial society: cider. Cider had become a popular beverage in England in the wake of the Norman conquest in 1066, after which new apple varieties were introduced from France. The New World settlers brought their taste for cider with them. Most colonists grew their own apples, and due to sanitation concerns, they often served a fermented cider at meals instead of water, including a diluted cider for the children. Cider became so popular that it was sometimes used to pay salaries, and Virginian statesman William Fitzhugh once remarked that the cider produced from his orchard of 2,500 trees was more valuable than 15,000 pounds of tobacco. Wow – who new?
But why should we eat this yummy fruit?
An apple a day may really keep the doctor away and here is why:
Apples are low in calories and free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. They are rich in fiber, disease-fighting anti-oxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals including potassium, folate, niacin and vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Eating apples has been associated with lower risk of a variety of cancers, stroke and diabetes. In addition, these nutritional powerhouses may help protect the brain from developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and even lower a person’s risk of tooth decay. Apples are also very good sources of dietary fiber, and a single serving provides 12% of the daily fiber requirement. The real value of apples lies in its organic compounds. It is packed with phytonutrients and flavonoids like quercetin, epicatechin, phloridzin, and various other polyphenolic compounds.
The role of apples in cancer prevention has been a subject of study for some time, and while they have shown moderate improvement in various types of cancer, particularly breast and colon cancer, the most significant discoveries have been regarding lung cancer. Most fruits and vegetables have some sort of anti-cancer effects, but apples stand head and shoulders among the rest in terms of commonly consumed fruits. They show a distinct and undeniable capacity to reduce lung cancer and slow its spread if it does develop. Hypotheses usually speak to the high phytonutrient content, including kaempferol and quercetin, but the exact mechanism for apples’ impact on cancer is still largely unclear.
Blood sugar control is essential for people who suffer from diabetes, and the polyphenols in apples have been directly linked to reducing the uptake of carbohydrates by the body. This, in turn, reduces the fluctuation of blood sugar levels that occur in the bloodstream, an important factor for helping to keep diabetes in check. It doesn’t stop there, however. The polyphenols also lower glucose absorption in our digestive tract, and they stimulate the release of insulin from our pancreas, which is necessary to keep blood sugar levels in check. Finally, the polyphenols stimulate the insulin receptors on cells throughout our body, which speeds up the removal of sugar from our bloodstream and gets it to our cells, which need it for metabolism and proper organ function. Apples are one of the best all around foods for improving the health of people suffering from diabetes.
This is just a few of the amazing benefits of apples! You should eat one today. We have them here at CHF in our box lunches or just come by and grab one.
Happy Healthy Eating!