Is the produce department at your grocery store packed full of apples? I’ve seen quite a few where I shop and I’m eager to bake some sweet treats with them.
I looked up some general information about apples as I perused recipes. Apples are pretty awesome for being such an understated fruit!
Though there are nearly 100 varieties of apples grown commercially in the U.S., just 15 popular varieties account for almost 90% of the apples consumed by Americans. Here’s an overview of the popular varieties:
(You can see a printable version of the table by clicking on the above image.)
Apples are low in calories, but high in fiber and essential vitamins and minerals (remember that two-thirds of the fiber and lots of the vitamins are found in the peel). Though the precise nutritional makeup varies by apple type and size, here’s the nutrition facts about a generic apple:
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Remember this old adage? Recent research shows that it’s true!
- Consuming apples (2-4 apples/day) or apple juice (2-3 cups/day) may protect against oxidative brain damage that can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Moreover, researchers found that drinking apple juice significantly improved mood and behavior among a group of patients diagnosed with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease.
- Researchers have found that a group of phytochemicals that are abundant in apple peel appear to kill or inhibit the growth of at least three different types of human cancer cells: Breast, colon, and liver.
- The children of mothers who ate apples during pregnancy are less likely to exhibit wheezing and other symptoms of asthma at age 5.
- Daily consumption of apples may help reduce the damage caused by LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and protect against heart disease. In fact, one study indicated that increased consumption of apples contributes to a decrease in death rates from heart disease in postmenopausal women.
- Apples are one of the “dirty dozen.” In fact, apples are first on the list, which means they contain the most pesticide residue of any fruit or vegetable. If you’re not familiar with the dirty dozen, it is a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that are most contaminated with pesticide residues. It’s wise to purchase organic varieties of the produce items on the list.
- Nutrition experts recommend that we eat 5-13 servings (2½ to 6½ cups) of fruits and vegetables each day, depending on one’s caloric intake. How much apple is one cup?
1 small apple
½ large apple
1 cup sliced or chopped apple
½ cup dried apple
1 cup of 100% apple juice or cider
1 cup of applesauce
- Enzymes in apples cause oxidative browning as soon as they are peeled or cut. It is believed that apples lose some of their vitamins as they brown. Lemon or pineapple juice, both of which contain antioxidants, can be applied to apple slices in order to slow enzymatic browning.
What’s your favorite type of apple? Are you eating a lot of apples this fall? What’s your favorite way to consume them?