11/9/2012

nourishing food: apples

Apples are one of my favorite fruits and one of the many reasons I love fall. Two weeks ago my favorite apple farmer at the market brought in the first batch of harvested apples – yum! He had about six varieties and even a few pears. Since I can remember I have eaten apples regularly though for the past four years I have consumed them when they are in season for the most part – eating seasonally really makes a difference.

My second year living in Portland I was introduced to so many apple varieties and even went apple picking for the first time. Growing up I remember Red Delicious, Granny Smith and that yellow one that was always mealy to me. In Portland I discovered Arkansas Black Apple, Empires, Honey Crisps (my fav), and Fujis among others. Many of them were grown in Washington State just 20 minutes north of Portland.

While doing research for the food focus I was surprised to learn that apples are a great source of the powerful antioxidant quercetin. Researchers have shown that quercetin prevents histamines from being released which is why they linked apple consumption to a lower risk of asthma in a study in the UK. Apples have been associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes all due to their high levels of flavonoids, disease fighting antioxidants. Apples are very high in pectin, a gel-forming fiber which can lower LDL (the bad cholesterol). One medium apple with the skin provides roughly 3 grams of fiber. The insoluble fiber in apples helps to keep our bodies regular. This is crucial for regular detoxification and the reason apples are known for constipation relief.

In addition to all of these amazing health benefits apples are great sources of Vitamin C and potassium. In order to get the most nutrition from apples it is best to eat them raw or lightly cooked. I realize it is fall and we are all going to be baking them no doubt ;) This is totally fine just be sure to eat them raw at least a few times a week to be sure you are getting the antioxidants and vitamins that are destroyed in the cooking process ;) Apples are one of the top foods containing pesticides so spend the extra money and always buy organic. Also many non-organic apples are coated with wax which is not good to eat. If you want to purchase them dry make sure they do not contain sulfurdioxide. Apples have a fairly long self life especially if you purchase them at your local farmers market. Stay tuned this month for yummy apple recipes, I have one coming out early next week!

xoa

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