Benefits of Apples

The person who said “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was certainly spot on in his assessment of the benefits that the fruit provides. This is because the apple is a fruit that contains several nutrients that keep the body healthy.

What are these nutrients? These are:

  • Phytochemicals – substances found in fruits and vegetables that protect your body from diseases. The more popular phytochemicals are lycopene in tomatoes, isoflavones in soy and flavonoids in fruits. Apples contain the flavonoids quercitin, naringin and catechins.
  • Minerals boron, potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc
  • Fiber – the indigestible portion of the fruit that aids in digestion.
  • Pectin – a soluble dietary fiber that is derived from the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, which has numerous medicinal benefits.
  • Natural sugars which are good sources of energy
  • Vitamin C

These nutrients perform the following functions for the body:

  • Lowers cholesterol level
  • Strengthens bones and increases bone density
  • Improves lung function and prevents respiratory diseases
  • Protects brain cells from free radical damage and prevents Alzheimer’s disease
  • Prevents certain cancers of the lungs, breasts, colon, liver
  • Lowers the body’s need for insulin and makes diabetes more manageable
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Acts as an effective detoxifying agent and has antiviral properties
  • Cleans the teeth and strengthens gums
  • Prevents constipation and aids in digestion
  • Has anti-aging properties that prevents wrinkles and promotes hair growth
  • Cures diarrhea

Is good for people suffering from headaches, arthritis, asthma, bladder inflammation, gonorrhea, anemia, tuberculosis, neuritis, insomnia, gallstones, worms, halitosis and pyorrhea.

Selection and Storage

Apples are great ingredients for smoothies, not only for their nutritive value, but also for their taste and sweetness; so be prepared to use lots of them in your drinks. Select apples that are firm, fragrant and free from bruises. Do not purchase those that are kept in cold storage because this could mean that they are not fresh anymore and can be over-ripe in a few days. If you plan on consuming the fruits in a day or two, you can keep them in the kitchen counter at room temperature. Otherwise, store them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Bear in mind that apples give off ethylene gas as they ripen, which speeds up the ripening process of other fruits and vegetables. If this is what you want, then place them in the same compartment or bag with the apple. If not, then store the apples in a separate compartment; else, the other fruits and vegetables placed near it will wilt and decay faster. When storing apples together, be sure that none of them is rotten. If one is bad, the rest will go bad as well because of the excess ethylene gas produced by the rotting apple. Store apples away from food that are give off odors, as the porous apples will absorb these odors.

You can freeze apples for your smoothies. To do this, wash the fruits thoroughly and peel, core and slice them to the size that you prefer. To avoid browning, dip the slices in lemon juice, salt water or ascorbic acid solution. Arrange the slices on a tray and put them in a freezer. Once frozen, divide them into the desired serving amounts and place inside freezer bags, making sure to leave a quarter inch of space at the top. Ideally, mark the bags with dates so you will know when the fruit has to be consumed. Freezing alters the texture of the fruit and they will not be ideal for eating raw; however, they will still be perfect for your smoothies.

Next Article: Apple Smoothie Recipes