Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), an American pioneer born in 1774 who went around planting his seeds across three states (Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois) had no idea of the benefits of apples as we know them today. He just knew they tasted good and that if you ate at least one a day you would not fall prey to illness as often!!
Boasting the apple benefits is justified by the multitudes of its health properties. This member of the well-known rose family has been around since the beginning of time, and there are fossil remains to prove it. Archaeologists claim to have proof of the apple being eaten several thousand years B.C.
Today, China’s apple industry ranks higher than any other country, although Washington, Michigan, California, New York and Pennsylvania are the leading contenders in the US. Thirty-six states grow apples for commercial use and four states -Washington, Rhode Island, West Virginia and New York all have apples listed as the state fruit.
Of the 7500 different kinds of apples worldwide, roughly 2500 are grown in the US. Thought Red and Golden Delicious are the most popular varieties, red apples are packed with more nutrients than any of the others. Delicious and Northern Spy have the most antioxidants in their skin, though most of the benefits of apples are found in the skin.
Apples are one of the richest sources of flavonoids (helping in the prevention of heart disease and stroke). Eating the skin of the apple ensures healthy doses of flavonoids called quercetin (boost memory) and phlorizin (helps in the prevention of bone loss during menopause). For the prevention of lung cancer both quercetin and naringin (white grapefruit) are recommended.
Another benefit of apples is their high water content – 80%, which off the bat makes it a health food. It has high levels of pectin – translating to a good source of fiber which is highly beneficial to the colon. One apple is 20% of the daily recommended intake (5g – which is more than a bowl of cereal claiming high fiber). The colon benefit and its ability to aid in the body’s regularity (prevents constipation) is probably what the apple is most famous for, and for anyone having problems with the stomach. For indigestion, eat an apple before meals. For diarrhea, mix grated apples with plain live yogurt.
Apples contain over 200 nutrients in trace amounts and in larger amounts – potassium, which aids in the water balance of the body and for good muscle function. Other antioxidant compounds such as phenols help provide UV-B protection against sun damage (Fuji, Red Delicious & Braeburn).
Apples are also a good source of many vitamins – especially vitamin C. Actually, eating 100 grams of apple everyday gets you about 1,500 milligrams worth of anti-oxidant properties. Apples contain 8-14% natural fruit sugar called fructose. It is a simple sugar and it’s what gives the apple its sweetness. Though simple, and unlike most other simple sugars, the sugar of an apple is broken down slowly over time. This, when combined with the fiber of the apples, helps the blood sugar levels remain stable and it is what ends up being converted to natural energy for the body.