Did you know September 17 is International Eat an Apple Day? Most everyone has heard their mom utter the old phrase, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," but in a myriad of ways, mom really does know best when it comes to one of the most popular and versatile fruits around. Whether you slice them up for salads, dip them in peanut butter or eat them whole, apples provide a plethora of healthy benefits. We at Western New York Catholic Schools are proud of our reputation for providing the best private schools in Buffalo, but our goals extend to promoting a healthy lifestyle that will carry our students into adulthood. In the spirit of International Eat an Apple Day, we're offering five things to know about apples and some of the benefits they provide.
Aside from being a low calorie snack and packing a nice amount of fiber (4 grams per medium apple), a single apple makes up about half the daily recommended fruit intake. Additionally, they're a great source of immune boosting vitamin C.
Substantial scientific evidence supports claims that apples yield legitimate health benefits. Research conducted by Florida State University
says regularly consuming even a handful of dried apples over six-months can dramatically lower "bad cholesterol" (LDL). Apples are packed with good stuff, like vitamin C, and long-term studies have shown that individuals who include apples in their diets enjoy a lowered risk of stroke, increased respiratory function and increased success in weight loss maintenance. Apples have been shown to cut the risk of some types of cancers by up to half as well as improve cellular health and brain function. Apples have also been shown to prevent the development
of dementia. So while an apple may not grab attention like some of its flashy fruit counterparts, regularly including one in your lunch has the propensity to boost long-term health.
Selecting Your Apples
When picking your apples to bring home, you should identify the ones that are richly colored, firm and not bruised. In just the U.S. there are approximately 2,500 varieties of apples grown, so you'll have many options of textures, colors and flavors to choose. In general, Golden Delicious, Red and Honeycrisp apples are some of the sweetest options. But if you're interested in trying different kinds, Gravenstein, Granny Smith and Pippin apples are the most tart.
Another thing to keep in mind when picking your apples is if pesticides played a part in the harvest. One study published by the Environmental Working Group
ranked apples as the second of twelve foods with the most pesticide residue. To mitigate or eliminate pesticides completely, you can consider purchasing certified organic. But if you're buying conventional produce, just make sure to rinse your apples well under running water and give them a soft scrub with a vegetable brush to eliminate/remove any wax and/or residue.
If kept in cold storage (35 to 40° Fahrenheit or 2 to 4° Celsius), apples can be stored for up to three-to-four months with minimal loss of nutrients. It's recommended that apples be kept in the crisper bin of a refrigerator with a bit of moisture provided by a damp cloth. To maximize the length of time your apples can be stored, be sure to remove any apples that have been bruised.
Eating an apple before exercise may boost your endurance. Apples deliver an antioxidant called quercetin
, which aids endurance by making oxygen more available to the lungs. One study shows that quercetin—when taken in supplement form—helped people cycle longer.
You maximize the health benefits of apples by eating them whole, but it's also fun (and tasty) to cook with them. While you might be familiar with the multitude of apple-centric dessert recipes, there are also lots of savory culinary creations that call for this fruit. Here's a list of "33 easy apples recipes"
to spark your creative culinary fires. So get creative in your cooking — or just take a bite of a delicious apple today to promote a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition.
Do you have a favorite recipe or way of eating apples? Tell us in the comment section below! We're so happy to be back in full swing with all of our students, faculty and parents. Fall is apple-picking season in WNY and with all the health benefits they offer, it's a perfect time to take the family to a local orchard and pick some to enjoy at home.