My dad loves apples! He always asks me to add them to the list whenever I’m heading to the grocery store. Originating in the Middle East more than 4000 years ago, the apple has become a staple of many people’s diets.
And like our ancestors found out oh so many years ago, these fruits are a healthy addition to your diet! According to the Institute of Food Research in the United Kingdom, some studies have found that apples may improve lung function as well reduce the risk of degenerate diseases such as Alzheimer’s and prevent chronic inflammation that can lead to heart cardiovascular. According to NutritionData at Self.com, one medium apple with skin is only 95 calories, but provides 17 percent of your dietary fiber. This fruit also is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Providing 14 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and A, the apple gets three out of five stars for weight loss and optimum health.
“Apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber,” the University of Illinois Extension website states. “Soluble fiber such as pectin actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber in apples provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive systems.”
There are multiple varieties, according to the University of Illinois Extension website. These options include:
- Golden Delicious – This apple, which has a sweet flavor and firm white flesh, is considered an all-purpose apple that’s good for cooking since it retains its shape and flavor. You also don’t have to peel it when cooking. This type of apple freezes well.
- Fuji (one of Dad’s favorite) – This apple is great to eat fresh, use in baking or applesauce, and stores well. This apple’s flavor (spicy, crisp and sweet) actually improves with storage. The Fuji’s skin varies from yellow-green with red highlights to very red.
- Gala – This apple, which has distinctive yellow-orange skin, is great for fresh eating as well as baking and salads.
- Braeburn (one of Dad’s favorites) – This apple, which is both sweet and tart, is described as having “high impact flavor.” These apples, which vary in color from greenish-gold with red sections to nearly solid red, can be used in baking and applesauce, or be frozen.
- Granny Smith – This apple, which is bright green with a pink blush, is tart. You can use it in baking and sautéing, which brings out the tartness.
- Jonagold (one of Dad’s favorites) – This apple is a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples. The Jonagold has a unique tangy-sweet flavor and can be used for cooking (as well as eating fresh).
- Winesap – This violet red apple has an old-fashioned flavor that’s spicy. It’s often used in making apple cider. Try it as a snack or in a salad.
- Arkansas Black – This apple is sweet and tart and stores for long periods of time. Its name reflects its color -- a deep red that almost looks black.
- Rome – This apple, which has a smooth red skin and sweet, slightly juicy flesh, boasts a mild flavor that grows richer when baked or sautéed.
According to RealSimple.com, you should select apples “that are firm, brightly colored, and free of bruises – which usually mean mealy, flavorless flesh underneath – and punctures, which speed decay. While shine isn’t the best indicator of ripeness (many supermarket apples are waxed), the apple should look vibrant in color.” The website recommends “flicking” the apple by its stem to check for freshness; you should hear a dull thud, which indicates ripeness. If you hear a hollow sound, the apple is slightly too ripe. You also should smell the apple since a sweet aroma indicates a fresher apple.
So take a few moments while buying groceries to stop by the apple aisle. You’ll have lots of choices – and each of those choices can provide a healthy boost to your diet!
Published On: September 06, 2011