Botanical name: Malus domestica
Delicious, crunchy, juicy, and sweet are all adjectives used to describe apples. They travel well, making them a popular lunchbox food and snack. Apples are extremely versatile. Although they are often thought of as distinctly American, they actually originated in Mesopotamia. Around 2,500 apple varieties are grown in the U.S., and 7,500 grown worldwide.
Health Benefits of Apples
Especially high in vitamin C, apples also provide vitamin A as a powerful antioxidant to help resist infection and scavenge free radicals that cause inflammation. They also contain a significant amount of fiber which can help prevent absorption of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Apples are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin (vitamin B1), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6), which together release enzyme power to support metabolism and other vital functions inside the body.
Other minerals in apples include iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium, which are important components in helping to control heart rate and blood pressure. All these good things and more explain why apples can legitimately be called a “super food.”
Warning: Apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated foods in the produce section, so it’s best to buy them organic. For more information, see: 10 Organic Foods That Are Worth the Money
Apple Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: One cup of chopped apples (125 grams), including skins
Amt. Per Serving
Studies Done on Apples
At least one study shows that the flavonoids and nitrates in apples may protect against cardiovascular disease1 by lowering blood pressure, as well as improving endothelial function to regulate blood flow. Flavonoids are one of the most important naturally occurring phytochemicals in fruits, vegetables, and edible plants.
Research also indicates a connection between eating apples and a reduced risk of certain cancers, specifically colorectal cancer2, due to the high flavonoid content that releases antioxidant activity. Apples, it turns out, contain more antioxidants than any other food, with the peel being even more potent than the flesh. Interesting too, is the finding that no other fruit is associated with altering colorectal cancer risks: The higher the intake, the bigger the impact.
Apple Healthy Recipes: Apple, Nut, and Grain Salad
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup cooked barley
- 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- ½ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, grated
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and dill.
- Blend in yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.
(From Dr. Mercola’s book Healthy Recipes for your Nutritional Type )
Apples Fun Facts
A tablet dating from 1500 B.C. was found in northern Mesopotamia, recording the trade of an apple orchard by Tupkitilla, an Assyrian from Nuzi, for three prized breeder sheep. Anyone allowing a fire to destroy an apple orchard was fined three shekels under Hittite law.
When you take a look at everything apples have to offer, it explains why it’s called a “super food.” Apples have been mentioned in folktales handed down through the ages, and not just because of their crunchy goodness. They’re extremely versatile in recipes, both raw and cooked, and offer cancer-fighting properties and powerful antioxidants with every bite. What could be better than that?
However, consume apples in moderation because they contain fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.