Apple season is upon us! Did you know that there are over 7000 varieties of apples worldwide? Not that we see many of those on the shelves.
Before I get into the nutritional benefits of apples, I want to draw attention to a new apple that has been ‘invented’. The Arctic Apple, grown in Canada, has been genetically modified so that it doesn’t brown. This apple has been approved by the US and in Canada, you can read more here. There haven’t been enough studies on the long-term effects of GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods on the human body but from some of the research I’ve read, as a nutritionist I suggest staying way from GMO products, including the Arctic Apple. If “browning” is a big issue for you, there are apples out there that do not brown easily and have not been modified genetically. A few of the varieties easily available here in BC are: Ambrosia and Gala.
Seasonal, organic apples are best for taste and nutrition. Apples are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, “Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits”. It has been suggested that eating large amounts of food rich in polyphenols can help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (Kanti Bhooshan Pandey et al, (2009). Apples are a great source of vitamins A and C, supporting visions, immune function, carotenoids like B-carotene which can be converted to vitamin A by the liver as required. It has been suggested that apples are good for your gut microbiota eating the whole apple, skin and all is a great source of fiber, the pectin in apples is the main soluble fiber and helps to slow down the absorption of the fruit sugar. It may even help those who suffer with gout due to the low purine content (purines break down into uric acid) and the high amounts of vitamin C , vitamin C may help with lowering uric acid levels.
To avoid sugar spikes, try to avoid juicing because juicers remove the very fiber that reduce the spikes. Adding apples in a smoothie is fine as long you the skin is left on.
Stewing apples with the skin is a tasty alternative. Being of British origin, I grew up eating stewed apples with a variety of pork dishes, pies and crumbles. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go!
Drinking raw organic apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water) can help support digestion and may help lower uric acid. Be careful with this, it may interfere with diuretic drugs and potassium levels. I find that Braggs is a great brand of cider vinegar – it’s good quality and tastes great.
Apples are perfect additions to salads, fruits pies/crumbles, sauce, as a snack and so much more.
Be sure to get organic whenever possible. Because of their popularity, apples tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides and the more you can reduce your intake of these sprays, the better.
Happy apple eating!
Arjun Walia (2014) “Ten scientific studies prove that genetically modified food can be harmful to human health”. Website: http://www.globalresearch.ca/ten-scientific-studies-proving-gmos-can-be-harmful-to-human-health/5377054
Athanasios Koutsos, Kieran M. Tuohy, and Julie A. Lovegrove (2015) “Apples and cardiovascular health – is the gut microniota a core consideration?” Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488768/