As soon as I feel that delicious autumn coolness in the air, comforting images of Fall excitedly flash within my mind’s eye. In one image, I hold a steamy mug of apple cider on a chilly day, and in another I pick ripe, deep-red apples at the orchard, later embarking on a haunted hayride through the fruit trees. These cherished memories originate from a childhood long since past, but I find it interesting that apples always play such a starring role whenever I reminisce about autumn.
Hmmm, I wondered: why is that?
Well, maybe it’s my body’s way of telling me to quit with the artificial, processed snacks and bring on the healthy goodness. We’ve all heard the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but did you know that this might actually be true?
Well, consider these points:
Apple consumption is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, asthma, and type II diabetes. ‘Nuff said.
Apples contain pectin, an excellent source of fiber. Apples are actually among the top single sources for fiber and pectin, which help to regulate bowel movements.
Apples boast high amounts of potassium and vitamin C. Studies have shown that a diet high in potassium (and low in sodium) helps protect the body against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin C helps to boost the immune function of the body, and is also credited with reducing the risk of cancer.
- Buy organic whenever possible. Apples are among the fruits most highly contaminated with pesticides.
- Leave the skin on. This part of the apple contains about two-thirds of the fiber and antioxidant phytonutrients such as polyphenolics and flavonoids like quercetin, which protect the body from those nasty, disease-causing free radicals!
- Always rinse under cool water—organic and otherwise—before eating. Non-organic apples can even be sprayed with produce wash and then rinsed.
Bonus tip: Mix water, white wine vinegar, baking soda, and grapefruit seed extract in a spray bottle to make your very own produce spray!
- Stock up on apple cider vinegar. This is a great product to always keep on hand in the pantry. Try taking a spoonful or two of it with water or organic (no sugar added) apple juice. This healthy concoction aids in detoxification, weight loss, and digestion. How you like them apples? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
- Support your community: buy local. Although weather has hindered the crop output this year, apple-picking season is still in full effect! Please use the following links to search for local apple sellers and orchards near you: http://www.agrilicious.org/local/apples or http://www.pickyourown.org/.