Nutrition and Health Benefits from Apples

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Nutrition and health benefits of apples
by Dan Gerhardt · All Zones · Food Nutrition · 0 Comments · March 15, 2011 · 4,863 views

Crab Apples

All it takes is one bad apple. The whole bunch of apples, from time immemorial, have projected an untarnished image onto the public eye, gracing the pages of ancient texts and mythologies throughout the ancient and medieval worlds, ultimately working their way to the top of Madison Avenue.

With their bright, multiple colors of red, yellow, and green, apples present themselves as irresistable m&m candies to horses, and wholesome halloween candy alternatives to horrified, hyperactive, and disappointed cavity-filled children everywhere. So admirable they are, apples. So clean, so perfect, so goody-two-shoes. But, weeding through all of the spin, all of the propaganda, there exists an undeniable dark side to apples. There are skeltons in the closet, and they, too, are not at all thrilled about the whole halloween sugar-buzzkill, either.

Lately, we have seen an unholy resurgence in rogue apples gone wild. I'm not talking about the untamed madness of, say, a certain tree, somehwere over the rainbow, using it's tawdry branches to hurl itself at innocent, ruby-slippered girls, cowardly lions, and mindless scarecrows. I'm not talking about said apple, alledgedly and deceptively used as a delivery vehicle of induced narcoleptic somnolence to a particular, albeit beautiful, princess-to-be. Or even, the obvious, the throat-choking favorite of one tree-hugging, slithery-tongued serpent. No, I'm talking about the rotten apple. There, I said it. The cat is out of the bag. The genie is out of the bottle and all of the sharp-shooting William Tells and all of the do-gooder Johnny Appleseeds in the world can't put it back in.

So what is a rotten apple to do? All it takes nowadays is for them to take their bruised ego, along with a pocketful of cash, and head to Beverly Hills for a facelift, chemical peel, tummy-tuck, and botox injection. The superficial corporate solution to rotten apples - wax, pesticides, preservatives, and radiation. Because all it takes is for one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch, right? Or is it, rather, a whole bunch of plastic, embalmbed, toxic, radioactive apples that mortify the one?

Apples in History

 PictureThe apple tree, which originally came from Eastern Europe and southwestern Asia, has spread to most temperate regions of the world. Over the centuries, many hybrids and cultivars have been developed, providing us with around 7,000 varieties available on the market today. In Norse mythology, apples were said to possesss magic qualities and keep people young forever. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, was a proponent of nutritional healing. His favorite remedies were apples, dates, and barley mush. And we cannot forget to cast a bow to John Chapman, otherwise known as Johhny Appleseed, who, during the 1800's, walked barefoot across an area of 100,000 square miles, planting countless apple trees that provided food for generations of settlers.

Nutritional & Health Benefits From Apples

Apples are quite the ingenious gift from Mother Nature. They contain a long list of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants and support the heart and circulatory system. Included in this list are quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. To take full advantage of the antioxidants in apples, it is very important to include the skins, so don't discard them.

Obviously, organically-grown apples are highly reccomended to minimize exposure to unwanted pesticide sprays and other potential contaminants.

Apples are actually a member of the rose family, and contain loads of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The Vitamin A concentration is higher in the outer skin than the flesh, and like potatoes, the Vitamin C concentration is higher just below the skin. Other vitamins and minerals present in apples include Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus. Don't make the mistake and assume that apples are less healthy than more exotic fruits. Apples combine fiber, nutrients, and antioxidant flavanoids in a way that is unique and unmatched by other fruits.

Easy on the digestion, apples contain malic and tartaric acids that inhibit fermentation in the intestines. Their high fiber content adds bulk that aids the digestive process, making elimination natural and comfortable. Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Apples contain flavanoids, antioxidants that improve immune function and prevent heart disease and some cancers.

Green apples act as a liver and gall bladder cleanser and may aid in softening gallstones. Because of their high water content, apples tend to cool and hydrate the body and aid in reducing fever. Simply grate them and serve them to feverish patients.

Apples are also known to digest very easily, and add vitality to weak people, which is why they are often given to recovering patients. The sugars and calories provide ample energy for a quick pick-me-up.

Steamed apples sweetened with honey are beneficial for a dry cough and may help to remove mucous from the lungs. The regular consumption of apples assists in smooth bowel movements and helps in the prevention constipation and stomach disorders.

The pectin and other compounds are believed to help reduce the jitters from consuming too much caffeine and drinking too much coffee, so they are good to keep handy for those burning the midnight oil like college students and truck drivers.

Apples also help the detoxification pathways of the liver, which improves the overall health of the body.

Eating a raw, crunchy apple also helps to clean the teeth and gums and reduces the chance of developing cavities in the teeth. The fiber in apples is tough enough to scrub the teeth, but gentle enough to massage the gums and palate. The antiseptic properties of the fruit help to keep bacteria in check, so they are refreshing for the breath as well.

The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body's need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes. A recent Brazilian study found that women who ate three apples a day lost more weight while dieting than women who did not eat any fruit while dieting.

The list of health benefots from eating apples goes on and on. Boron and other ingredients like a flavanoid called phlidzin (another one of those funny-sounding names), may help to strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Children are reported to suffer from less wheezing from asthma when drinking apple juice on a daily basis and children born to women who ate many apples during pregnancy have demonstrated lower rates of asthma than children whose mothers ate few apples.

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Dan Gerhardt

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Dan Gerhardt - Aside from being a life-long gardener, Dr. Dan Gerhardt is a chiropractor and nutritionist.

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