Green With Envy

Maybe one of the most notable signals that Fall has arrived is the vast amount of apples and apple products that begin to appear.  Typically you may have three or four varieties of apples available in the stores throughout the year, but then all of a sudden there is an apple EXPLOSION.  There are now nine or ten varieties-cider, chips, dehydrated rings, dumplings, fritters and pies.  And they aren’t just found in the stores but at now-open road side stands, churches, charities and sold out of the back of trucks in parking lots.

My favorite for baking and applesauce is honeycrisp, which is nearly never found except at this apple-palooza time of year.  On the other hand, I almost daily consume one organic, green, Granny Smith.  (My fave!  All others I wrinkle my nose at to eat raw.)

While there is the old phrase, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”  It actually has nothing to do with why I consume them practically every day.  The truth is that I love their tartness, they are easy to grab and eat on the run, and it is the all-natural choice as opposed to some “breakfast bar”. 

I’ve actually always thought that the “apple a day” adage, was probably some old wives’ tale.  And who knows, it may have actually started that way?  But the truth is, apples are super good for you.  Like anything else, eating the apples in “whole” form rather than processed into applesauce, juice or  some other variation will contain the most beneficial properties.

Their phytonutrients can help maintain blood sugar levels, their array of vitamins and minerals help cleanse blood, they are a source of fiber and the pectin they contain (when working with their fiber) help to promote the lowering of blood fat levels.  Surprisingly, there is significant proof that apples actually help prevent lung cancer and reduce the risk of asthma.  While no one is exactly sure what properties of the apple specifically are responsible for this, there is no denying that they directly help keep lungs healthy.

One of the nutritional facts of apples just beginning to be explored but is worth mentioning, is its effect on your intestines.  The levels of “good” bacteria were increased in a study that monitored groups that included a daily apple in their diet.  Specifically, the two bacteria that created more lactic acid, which in turn fights off and “kills” the bad bacteria.  There was also a study done that showed improved metabolism functions in the large intestine.  Undoubtedly, more studies are sure to come on these benefits.

The one question that begs to be asked is, is there really a difference between red apples and green apples besides taste?  Generally, the answer would have to be no.  Some red types do have higher levels of sugar, more calories and lower levels of vitamin C.  In turn, some red apples have higher levels of antioxidants, fiber and polyphenols.  So for the most part, it comes down to which flavor do you prefer?

Interestingly, while the existance of apples has been around for centuries, we are still discovering new uses and health properties of them today.  It’s a shame Eve had to ruin the good name of the apple.  Couldn’t she have picked a less beneficial, more “sinful” thing to consume resulting in the fall of humanity?  Something like doughnuts?!

**One word of caution…apples are HIGHLY treated with pesticides, fertilizers, etc.  Specifically, red ones tend to be more treated than green ones.  It also needs to be noted that washing or even removing the skin from the apple does not remove these contaminants.  Unfortunately, they are absorbed into the flesh of the apple.  Apples are one of the items, when on a budget and not able to buy all organic, should not be skipped over.**

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