Apples are an Incredible Fruit

Full of fiber and antioxidants and relatively low in calories, some even consider them to be a super-food. And, there are so many different varieties that it’s hard to ever get bored with this crispy tree fruit as a snack, appetizer, or central ingredient to delicious baked goods. But what are some of the health details that support the widespread love of this fruit?

Apples Offer Reduced Risk of Diseases as well as Antioxidants like Polyphenols

A medium apple gives about 100 calories with 0 grams of fat and is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and diabetes – possibly due to its relatively high fiber content. It is a good source of vitamin C, and also a lot of other antioxidants such as polyphenols. Fruits and vegetables that are colorful are often rich sources of antioxidants, since these compounds are what gives fruit and veggies their color. This is a major reason for the phrase “eat the rainbow.” Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage within the body, which is associated with inflammation, and many chronic diseases. Specifically, fruits that have white flesh, like apples and pears, were found by some research studies to be associated with a reduced rate of stroke. Of course, the fiber in apples aids to regular digestive function.

Roughly 75,000 Varieties of Apples Exist

There are roughly 75,000 varieties of apple, some are good for baking, eating, juicing, and some don’t taste good at all. But what is the healthiest? Fuji and red delicious rank highest for their antioxidant content, but many other varieties come close. But you can’t really go wrong with any variety.

Apples Make a Great Snack

Apples are a great snack, with nut butter or cheese, or just by themselves. They are a great addition to salads (walnuts, apples, cranberries, lemon juice and romaine lettuce), and of course a central dessert ingredient for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here is a classic recipe for baked apples you may enjoy.

Delicious Sugar-free Baked Apples (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized apples (Jonamac, Fuji, Gala work great)
4 tbsp chopped nuts (pick your favorite!)
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch of  nutmeg, cardamon, clove, (or you can use a tsp of pumpkin pie spice)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Oil a baking sheet
Core both apples, keeping the them whole
Combine nuts, spices and honey and fill the center of the apples with the mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes
Let cool slightly before serving

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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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