We have all heard the old expression that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it is probably something your parents told you frequently as a child! You may have disregarded this saying as just another trick that adults used to get you to eat healthy foods, but could there actually be some serious weight to this idea?
This saying first appeared in print in 1866 in a copy of ‘Notes and Queries’. This publication stated, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread”. The saying remains in popular use to the present day, although in variations of the original!
So, what is it about apples that makes them so good for us?
Apples are an excellent source of pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber. When we consume adequate amounts of pectin our blood pressure and our glucose levels will be lowered. Pectin also combats the presence of LDL cholesterol in the body, which is great for cardiovascular health.
The digestive system can also benefit from the presence of pectin. This is because it will alleviate inflammation in this area. This can bring relief to both constipation and diarrhoea, as well as encouraging optimum digestive function.
This flavonoid has been researched for its potential for tackling certain types of cancer. It has also been studied in trials investigating ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Quercetin is fantastic for fighting those pesky free radicals in the body, helping to keep you healthy. Quercetin is also known to be good for supporting the health of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It can also help to protect you against stress as it works to suppress the enzyme that is necessary for cortisol (the stress hormone) to be released in the body.
Boron is a nutrient that is essential in supporting healthy bones and maintaining brain function. It is required by the body to support normal growth and general health. The presence of boron in the body can naturally aid with conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
It is believed that menopausal people can find some relief by consuming an adequate amount of boron, as it has been shown to relieve the symptoms of the menopause.
There are some nutrients that increase the ability of the body to absorb other vitamins and minerals. When it comes to calcium and magnesium, boron does just that! In fact, when you are experiencing a boron deficiency then it is likely that your body will be unable to metabolise calcium and magnesium properly.
There is an exciting range of phytonutrients to be found in apples, such as vitamin A, vitamin E and beta carotene. Phytonutrients are great for helping to preserve optimum health, and have been connected to a lower incidence of asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
Apples in Your Diet
Knowing that something is good for you isn’t always enough to motivate you to include it in your diet regularly. However, making it easy and effortless to do so makes it much more likely that you will!
Having a ready supply of apples in your home will of course make it more likely that you will snack on them - so make sure they feature consistently on your shopping list!
Although apples do certainly make a tasty snack, there are other more exciting ways to include them in your daily diet.
Morning smoothies are a tasty way to start the day, and adding an entire apple to yours is a great idea. Slice your apple in half first to get rid of the core and stalk and then simply blitz with the rest of the ingredients.
If you own a juicer then apples are a good choice of ingredient to use with this appliance. You will get an ample amount of juice from each one, and the fresh taste will be amazing!
Baking sweet treats that include apples in the recipe is an indulgent way to sneak them into your diet! Buying cooking apples is best for this, and there is an abundance of recipes online to make incredibly tasty but healthy dishes with them. These recipes will usually involve placing certain ingredients inside of the cooking apple and baking it in the oven. You can also opt for apple crumble, apple pie and even sticky toffee apples - although this last option is unlikely to be healthy once you consider the amount of sugar in the toffee!
Types of Apples
Everybody has their own personal preference as to which type of apple they favor. Common favorites include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, Braeburn and Pink Lady!
Some apples are sweeter than others, and they will also vary in size from one type to another. The kind of apple that you choose to include in your diet is of course up to you! And, you may find that you prefer to keep things interesting by switching between varieties of apple every time that you do your grocery shopping.