We have all heard the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. However, have you ever actually stopped to think about whether that is true? That’s why I decided to investigate to find out the truth behind the question of just how healthy is an apple?
Welcome back to our continuing series on examining different foods items and their potential health benefits! We all know that it is important to incorporate a variety of foods into our diets, but we so often neglect the reasons these foods are healthy in the first place!
That’s why each month, I chose to start highlighting different foods that we eat, be it a vegetable, fruit, herb, etc.! I’m going to cover as many as I can find, so I hope you will stay tuned. If you want to take a look at the other posts in this series, feel free to click on any of the links below:
- Oregano’s Health Benefits
- Basil’s Health Benefits
- Parsley’s Health Benefits
- Rosemary’s Health Benefits
- The Artichoke’s Health Benefits
- The Apricot’s Health Benefits
- Arugula’s Health Benefits
As we have done before, we are going to discover a little about where the apple comes from, how it grows (as well as how you can grow them yourself), their nutritional profile, and their potential health benefits.
In case you are interested in incorporating apples into your diet, I’ll also be providing a few video recipes to cover breakfast, lunch/dinner, and dessert!
The apple may be well-known and common, but let’s find out if it deserves it’s one-a-day expression!
Where Do Apples Come From And How Do They Grow?
According to Britannica.com, apples have been grown and eaten for over 2,000 years all over the world! For anyone who has been apple picking, the best time for doing so is a period from late summer to late autumn.
I wish I could list all the varieties, but since they number in the thousands, that would be a little impossible in the space I have here and I also don’t think you want to read through all that. However, the varieties do break down into three smaller categories, under which I will list some of the more well-known kinds.
- Cider: These apples are not the best for eating out of hand, but are usually fermented to make ciders (Cider School).
- Sweet Coppin
- Wickson Crab
- Cooking: These apples are best when used in cooked dishes, including savory and sweet, because they are firm enough to hold up to the heating process without getting mushy (Almanac).
- Granny Smith
- Dessert: These are the varieties that are best eaten raw, right out of the hand (Free Dictionary).
- Golden Delicious
- Red Delicious
Aside from raw apples you will find in the produce section, you can find all kinds of products that are made using apples including apple cider, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, applesauce, apple butter, etc. They can even be used to make wine. For the purposes of this particular article, we are simply going to focus on the raw variety.
One thing to note before we go on. Apples have always been, and continue to be, on the “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that are most tainted with pesticides when tested. In fact, for 2020, apples come in at number 5! Therefore, it is a good idea to bite the bullet of the extra expense and purchase your apples organic (Delish).
That is of course, unless you want to grow your own and not have to worry about where your apples come from!
Growing Your Own Apples
As I have stated many times before, I love the idea of growing my own produce. When you do, you know the exact process that went into the final product and can eliminate harmful pesticides if you decide to grow organically. It also saves you a bunch of money in the long run since many plants continue to produce year after year.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. Growing herbs and small vegetable plants is one thing, but apples are trees. Unless you have a bunch of space, how are you ever going to grow your own apples, especially if you don’t have the necessary space?
Well, where there is a will there is a YouTube, and I have found a couple videos that will give you a better idea of how to grow apple trees, even in limited space!
The Complete Apple Tree Growing Guide:
Growing Apples Trees In Containers (YES! It is possible!):
Nutritional Profile Of Apples
I love using the nutritional information tool from Self.com for finding out the calorie, vitamin, mineral, etc. content of the foods I highlight. Check it out, as they have a huge database of both raw and cooked foods, including some restaurant items.
As always, I will be looking at the item with percentages based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Let’s take a look at the results!
1 Large Apple (223 grams), Skin On:
- Calories: 116
- Total Fat: 0.4 (1%)
- Saturated Fat: 0.1g (0%)
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
- Sodium 2.2mg (0% DV)
- Total Carbohydrates: 30.8g (10% DV)
- Dietary Fiber: 5.4g (21% DV)
- Total Sugar: 23.2g
- Protein: 0.6g
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 20.1mg
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 95.9mg
- Vitamin A: 120 IU (2% DV)
- Vitamin C: 10.3mg (17%)
- Vitamin E: 0.4mg (2%)
- Vitamin K: 4l9mcg (6%)
- Riboflavin: 0.1mg (3%)
- Niacin: 0.2mg (1%)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1mg (5%)
- Folate: 6.7mcg (2%)
- Pantothenic Acid: 0.1mg (1%)
- Choline: 7.6mg
- Betaine: 0.2mg
- Calcium: 13.4mg (1%)
- Iron: 0.3mg (1%)
- Magnesium: 11.2mg (3%)
- Phosphorus: 24.5mg (2%)
- Potassium: 239mg (7%)
- Zinc: 0.1mg (1%)
- Copper: 0.1mg (3%)
- Manganese: 0.1mg (4%)
- Fluoride: 7.4mcg
While I’m not sure the amount of vitamins and minerals will help keep the doctor away, there are a few aspects of apples that are very beneficial. The first is that they are not very high in calories. To go with that, they do contain a great amount of fiber!
The combination of these two features means that you can use them as a great snack in between meals to keep you feeling full until the next time you sit down at the table. You just need to make sure that you keep the skins on or else your fiber content is surely going to go down.
While some may balk at the sugar content, remember that added sugars are more of a culprit than natural sugars. Anyone looking to get a boost for a workout, though, might want to turn to an apple beforehand to give them a burst of energy!
As far as their vitamin and mineral content, there isn’t anything that is bowling me over. It has a really great amount of Vitamin C and decent numbers when considering Vitamins A, K, B6, and Potassium.
Overall, it leaves me a little unimpressed, but I’ll wait until I see the potential health benefits that go deeper than the vitamins, minerals, and macros.
If you are now looking for great ways to add apples to your diet, check out the following breakfast, lunch/dinner, and dessert recipes!
Easy Apple Pancakes:
Chicken Apple Sausage With Biscuits And Pan Gravy:
Easy Baked Apples:
Potential Health Benefits of Apples
As we saw from the nutritional profile, apples don’t set the world on fire from a vitamin and mineral perspective. However, there are definitely some great benefits that nutritional labels leave out.
According to Healthline, and as I briefly discussed beforehand, apples are high in fiber and water. What this means is that they help you to feel full for a longer period of time. This is a great feature for those looking to lose weight, as you won’t feel as hungry while consuming fewer calories.
Speaking of fiber, they also contain high amounts of soluble fiber and polyphenols (which have antioxidant qualities) that can help lower your bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Though apples are higher in sugar content, the polyphenols have also shown promise in decreasing the risk of diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, the pectin that apples contain is helpful for those with gastrointestinal issues as it helps to promote the good bacteria in your gut. I know that during my wife’s first pregnancy, either eating apples or drinking apple juice was sometimes enough to settle her stomach in the first trimester.
One other interesting fact that comes from Organic Facts, is that apples also have the ability to clean your teeth! Apparently the fiber wipes away the bad stuff from your enamel and the flesh contains antibacterial properties to clean the mouth! Who would have thought?
Of course that doesn’t give you license to eat an apple instead of brushing your teeth, since their is still a good amount of sugar that is going to be present.
How healthy is an apple? While it certainly isn’t a complete nutritional powerhouse, it definitely has value as part of your diet. Where the real power lies, I think, is in the potential health benefits that go beyond the food label.
Filled with compounds that fight disease, it’s time to make apples more than an afterthought packed into a lunchbox or a novelty only consumed once a year after a trip to an orchard.
Now it’s your turn! Do you enjoy eating apples? If so, what is your go-to variety for either cooking or eating raw? Do you have any favorite ways to use or prepare apples?
What do you think about growing your own? Were you as surprised as I was that there is a variety you can grow in a container? Let me know down in the comments below!
Also, feel free to ask any questions you may have and I will do my best to give you an answer.
In case you are interested in more articles on nutrition, recipes, or great products that you can add to your diet, feel free to check out the links below:
Restaurant Survival Guides:
- What To Eat For Health – Part 1: At Chipotle
- What To Eat For Health – Part 2: At Arby’s
- What To Eat For Health – Part 3: At McDonald’s
- What To Eat For Health – Part 4: At Chick-fil-A
- What To Eat For Health – Part 5: At Burger King
- What To Eat For Health – Part 6: At Panera
- Banana And Peanut Butter Oatmeal
- Banana-Carrot Pancakes
- Easy Beef and Bean Burritos
- Panko Chicken with Wilted Greens and Fried Eggs
- Grilled Ribeye Steak and Cheese Sandwiches
- My Ultimate Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
- Capellini Pomodoro
Nutritional Products and Supplements:
- Garden Of Life Raw Meal Vegan Protein Powder
- Vega One All-In-One Organic Shakes
- Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli
Diet Analysis And Nutrition Tips:
- The OMAD Diet
- The Carnivore Diet
- The Juicing Diet
- Intermittent Fasting
- Tips To Be Healthy And Fit On Vacation
Apples may be able to help you keep the doctor away, but they can’t bolster your income (unless you own a farm and sell them!). That’s where these resources come in! Check out these methods for either earning some extra cash, free gift cards, or even starting your own business!
Start Your Own Online Business:
Make Some Cash In Your Spare Time:
Save Money And Earn Gift Cards For Free:
Turn Your Passion For Fitness Into A Career:
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That’s all for now! As always, God Bless and Happy Eating!