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The Nutritional Benefits of Apples

Updated on April 4, 2014
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Did you know that one of the most common and popular fruits in the United States is also one of the most likely to be contaminated with pesticides? Yes, unfortunately it's the apple. On the other hand, apples are still a healthy whole food that is great to include in your diet.

Apples have been intriguing people and also causing trouble since the misty dawn of time, when they featured in the garden of Eden story and various myths from around the world. They often appear as symbols, especially representing goddesses and their attributes of love, eroticism, and fertility.

Biologically, apples have been cultivated for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, then in America following colonization. Today there are thousands of different varieties of apple, and almost all of them are delicious. Unfortunately apples are quite likely to fall prey to various pests and plant diseases, which may explain why they are often sprayed with so many chemicals.

major nutrients in apples:

  • vitamin B
  • vitamin C
  • antioxidants
  • fiber

Health Benefits of Apples

Under the right circumstances, though, an apple a day just might keep the doctor away. That's because they're high in both antioxidants, which combat cell damage and may reduce the risk of cancer, and vitamin C, which boosts immune function. They are also high in fiber and B vitamins, which are needed for healthy metabolic function.

A medium apple has about 100 calories, and is one of nature's ideal snacks. The skin contains a lot of the fiber and nutrients, so it's healthiest to leave it on if your apple is organic – if it isn't you should wash and peel it to avoid most of the pesticides. Adding some natural peanut butter is a good way to get a little protein and healthy fat, too, for a longer lasting energy boost.

What to Do With Apples

The best type of apple to choose depends on your taste and, of course, what you're planning to do with it. While they're the most widely available, few people really prefer the flavor of Red Delicious of Golden Delicious. Personally I like a crisp apple with sweet and tart notes, so Pink Lady, Honeycrisp and Braeburn are some of my favorites. For baking, Granny Smith can be a good choice since its flesh is quite firm and its sour flavor complements the sweetness of many desserts. Apples can be grown throughout most of the United States and many other parts of the world, too, so look around for unique local varieties to discover.

If you're not sure what to do with your apples, it's hard to go wrong with a pie or crisp. On the other hand, you could keep it simple and stick with something like a fresh apple sauce. If you have the right apples to begin with, it's really hard to go wrong.

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