Health & Wellness

An Apple a Day

10.01.10 APPLE_SLICES

From that old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor way,” we have been taught that an apple is the quintessential health food — and for good reason. Peel to core, these inexpensive grocery store staples are packed with nutrients, including fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. With more than 2,500 varieties ranging from tart and crunchy to soft and sweet, there’s bound to be an apple to satisfy nearly every taste bud.

Apples come in shades of red, green and yellow, but one thing they all have in common is a healthy dose of fiber. A single medium-sized apple has four grams of fiber, which is one-fifth of the minimum recommended daily intake. There are two forms of fiber found in apples — insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber improves regularity and reduces your risk of developing colon cancer. Soluble fiber prevents cholesterol build-up in the blood vessels, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

Apples are naturally free of cholesterol, fat and sodium. However, the apple’s peel is rich in antioxidants, which ward off diseases, such as cancer, by reducing damage to cells. A study shows that Red Delicious apples, a popular variety in the United States, contain a higher concentration of antioxidants compared to several other varieties.

Counting calories? With approximately 80 calories per serving, a single apple is the perfect portable snack. Plus, the fruit’s fiber tends to make you feel full for a longer period of time, reducing your urge to eat. You may want to save that apple for a fresh treat after a meal. Apples, which belong to the rose family, are a natural breath freshener.

What’s in your average apple?

—–     81 calories

—–    21 grams of carbohydrates

—–    4 grams of fiber

—–    73 IU vitamin A

—–    8 milligrams of vitamin C

—–    4 micrograms of folate

—–    159 milligrams of potassium

So here’s a health tip: to maximize the health benefit of eating apples, put your peeler down. The apple’s skin is rich with nutrients.

Written by: Ann Whitaker, RD, LD, CDE, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia

Cotton Candy Magazine®