When fall comes, my mind always thinks of apple orchards, cider mills and fresh pressed cider. My sister’s family lives in Michigan and I love to visit toward the end of August. First, Florida is like a steam tent in August and I enjoy a break. Second, Michigan can be hot but it also gets fronts from Canada that lower the temperature to mild. Third, the beginning of September marks the opening of the cider mills. Offering fresh apples and fresh pressed cold cider, the mills draw crowds to welcome fall. We need to remember that besides the great taste, apples are super healthy for us.
Remember the old saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ ? Apples are one of the most popular fruits and they are filled with antioxidants and flavonoids that boost brain power. Eating an apple can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, reduce asthma attacks, and helps prevent diabetes. The phytonutrients in apples can help you regulate your blood sugar. Recent research has shown that apple polyphenols can help prevent spikes in blood sugar. There are many research studies linking apples to cancer prevention. There is overwhelming evidence that one-third of all cancer cases and half the incidences of cardiovascular disease and hypertension can be attributed to diet.
The size of a medium sized apple is perfect to carry for a snack or part of lunch. Research shows that eating an apple whole versus in apple sauce or juice is more satisfying and filling. But especially interesting was an additional finding about calorie intake following apple consumption. When healthy adults consumed one medium-sized apple approximately 15 minutes before a meal, their caloric intake at that meal decreased by an average of 15%. Since meals in this study averaged 1,240 calories, a reduction of 15% meant a reduction of 186 calories, or about 60 more calories than contained in a medium apple. Also eating the peel gives us more healthy nutrients. Why not try eating an apple as an appetizer before dinner?
Unfortunately, research also shows that conventional apples are the most sprayed fruit on the market. The Environmental Working Group’s list of the most chemically laden produce places apple at number one. That’s why I buy organic or from a grower I trust.
There are many ways to use apples when cooking. Add chopped apples to salads, braise apples and red cabbage, and try sliced apples and cheese as a snack or dessert. For breakfast add sliced apples to yogurt. When juicing, don’t forget to add apples. Add part of an apple to your smoothie. Enjoy the new fall crop of apples and don’t forget to eat it raw.
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