Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Apples: Take a Bite Out of This!

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You don't have to be a teacher to recognize a good apple when you see one. We all know we're supposed to eat apples (cue the famous line: 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'), but what's the big deal? Are they really that good for you?

The answer is yes! I started thinking about apples yesterday because my co-worker brought a bag in from the Berkshires. Fresh, local apples remind me of fall, so I figured it was high time we talked about apples!

Though apples and America go hand in hand (hello, warm apple pie!), the apple actually traces its origin to Asia - Kazakhstan to be exact. The only apples indigenous to the United States are crab apples, and I'm pretty sure nobody's craving a crab apple pie. **SIDE NOTE: My pediatrician's office was in an office park by the name of Crab Apple, so I automatically associate crab apples with bad experiences - like poking, prodding and the occasional shot in the arm**. My point is... we should be thanking the Kazakhstanis right about now because apples are such a tasty and nutritious superfood! Apples can...

LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL - Apples contain the soluble fiber pectin, which works to lower LDL (or 'bad') cholesterol. Eating just 2 apples a day can significantly decrease your cholesterol levels.

PREVENT HEART DISEASE - The fiber in apples also works to decrease cholesterol, making you less susceptible to heart disease.

PROTECT YOU FROM CANCER - Apples are packed with flavenoids, which help protect the body from cancer. Multiple studies point to the fact that apples have the ability to decrease your risk of lung, breast, colon, prostate and liver cancers.

HELP WITH DIABETES MANAGEMENT - The pectin in apples also aids in the slow release of blood sugar into the bloodstream.

PREVENT ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE - Apples have very high levels of the antioxidant quercetin, which prevents oxidative stress - one of the major causes of nerve damage in the brain.

STRENGTHEN YOUR BONES - The flavanoid phloridzin is unique to apples and has been shown to increase bone density. The boron in apples also helps to strengthen your bones.

INCREASE YOUR EXERCISE ENDURANCE - The antioxidant quercetin also helps to make oxygen more available to the lungs, making the apple a great pre-workout snack choice.

Obviously apples are pretty straight forward. Just a quick rinse and you're ready to go. But it's more fun to jazz that apple up. Here are a few recipes to get your wheels turning...

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KALE AND APPLE SOUP (no picture but it sounds amazing!)

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