Known as the “queen of fruit”, apples are the 4th most produced fruits after grapes, bananas, and oranges. Apples come in a wide range of colors, types, and flavors. In addition to its wide variety and versatility in cooking, it is extraordinary in its dietary and therapeutic properties.

Disease/ Ailment:

Diarrhea
Constipation
Hypertension
Chronic eczema caused by autointoxication
Excess uric acid
Gastrointestinal and colitis-related diarrhea
Liver disease
High cholesterol/Arteriosclerosis
Colon cancer
Diabetes

Health benefits:

Detoxification: Pectin, a hydrocarbon not absorbed in the intestines, is the main fiber that is present in apples. It retains water and waste products in the intestines, acting as an intestinal “broom”. This eliminates toxins through the feces and uric acid through the urine.

Alkalizing agent: When organic acids such as malic acid metabolize, they produce an alkalizing effect in the blood and tissues. These acids renew the intestinal flora and prevent intestinal fermentation.

Astringent/Anti-inflammatory: Apples are one of the fruits richest in tannins, which are astringent and anti-inflammatory.

Lowers cholesterol and prevents arteriosclerosis: Phytochemicals called flavonoids keep cholesterol from depositing in the arterial walls and stops the progression of the arteriosclerosis.

Bone health: Apples are one of the fruits richest in boron, which is known to facilitate the assimilation of calcium and magnesium and thus prevent osteoporosis.
Gastroenteritis/ colitis: Pectin acts as a sponge to absorb and eliminate toxins produced by the bacteria that causes gastroenteritis and colitis.

Constipation: Apples are known for its ability to cure gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and constipation.

Lowers blood pressure: Apples facilitate the elimination of sodium ions that cause arteries to contract, thus increasing blood volume and fluid retention in the tissues. In addition, the potassium replaces the sodium and helps regulate fluid balance.

Colon cancer: Pectin, the main fiber in apples, is capable of preventing the growth of cancerous tumors in the colon.

Liver disease: Apples’ choleretic and depurant effects decongest the hepatic gland aiding the treatment of chronic hepatitis and fatty degradation of the liver.

Good source of:

Vitamin C, fiber

Purchasing, storing, & enjoying:

Purchasing: Pick apples that are firm, crisp, and brightly colored. The pigment is a good indicator of the sweetness of the apple. Don’t pick fruit that are bruised and have soft spots. Apples are one of the “Dirty Dozen”, a list of produce with the highest residues of pesticides. Therefore organic apples are preferred over conventional. The peak season for apples depends on the variety but generally it is between September- November.

Storing: Keep apples in an airtight plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Apples, along with many fruit, release a hormone gas called ethylene, which speeds the ripening process to any surrounding produce. Therefore, they should be stored separately and should keep fresh for up to a week.

Enjoying: Apples can be transformed into many different mediums: applesauce, apple butter, and apple juice. But the best way to eat them to gain the maximum nutrients and flavor is simply as is. Cut the apple into thin slices and enjoy a mid-day snack. Or add them to a fruit or vegetable salad to add crunch and sweetness.

Resources & recipes:

Apple varities: http://www.orangepippin.com/apples

Healthy apple muffins: http://www.food.com/recipe/vegan-apple-muffins-236471

Raw butternut squash and apple soup: http://www.choosingraw.com/butternut-squash-and-apple-soup-a-rawcooked-comparison/

 

References:

Aprikian O, Duclos V, Guyot S et al. Apple Pectin and a Polyphenol-Rich Apple Concentrate Are More Effective Together Than Separately on Cecal Fermentations and Plasma Lipids in Rats. J. Nutr., Jun 2003; 133: 1860 – 1865. 2003.

Barbosa AC, Pinto MD, Sarkar D et al. Varietal Influences on Antihyperglycemia Properties of Freshly Harvested Apples Using In Vitro Assay Models. J Med Food. 2010 Sep 27. [Epub ahead of print]. 2010.

Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, Loria CM, Whelton PK. Dietary fiber intake and reduced risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Sep 8;163(16):1897-904. 2003.

Boyer J and Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004 May 12;3(1):5. 2004. PMID:15140261.

Holderbaum DF, Kon T, Kudo T et al. Enzymatic Browning, Polyphenol Oxidase Activity, and Polyphenols in Four Apple Cultivars: Dynamics during Fruit Development. HortScience, Aug 2010; 45: 1150 – 1154. 2010.

Van Der Sluis AA, Dekker M, Skrede G. Activity and concentration of polyphenolic antioxidants in apple juice. 1. Effect of existing production methods. J Agric Food Chem 2002 Dec 4;50(25):7211-9. 2002.

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-store-apples-for-the-wi-68778

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=15&tname=foodspice


About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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