Beth Brink

Beth Brink

With fall right around the corner, we have been trained to think of it as pumpkin spice season. Although that is delightful, let’s not forget about the many possibilities of apples, which are also thought of during the harvest season.

Apples are a versatile fruit that can be part of an entrée, breakfast or dessert — or a delicious fruit to eat as a snack.

The old adage from 1866, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is still quoted to this day. In studying the fruit and trying to find any truth in that saying, it was discovered that apples have many health benefits.

Apples are rich in antioxidants, protecting our cells against free radical damage caused from inflammation or pollution. They may play a role in lowering cholesterol due to the fiber and polyphenols. The fiber is soluble and can aid in supporting a healthy digestive system. Apples are also low on the glycemic index due to their fiber content. Between their fiber and their high flavonoid content, they may help improve insulin sensitivity.

Due to the naturally-occurring sugar, an apple is a great food for snacks or early in the morning because it is a complex carbohydrate, meaning the sugars break down more slowly and the nutrients are slowly released throughout the body, providing energy longer.

To get the full benefits apples have to offer, eat the whole fruit, the flesh and the skin. The skin contains quercetin, which helps boost immunity and reduce inflammation.

So, do apples really keep the doctor away? By themselves, the simple answer is no. However, when eaten as part of a well-balanced diet, they offer a number of health benefits and have great nutritional value.

This chicken, apple, sweet potato and Brussel sprouts skillet dish is a healthy example of apples in a main dish.

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Beth Brink, MS, registered dietitian nutritionist and a licensed dietitian with DeTar Healthcare System.

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(1) comment

Joseph/Linda Crisp

Excellent article Beth!

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