"...look into all things with a searching eye” - Baha'u'llah (Prophet Founder of the Baha'i Faith)


Oct 19, 2012

An apple a day keeps the doctors away!

The apple is one of the world's most popular fruits. Apple trees don't bear their first fruit until they are four or five years old. Apples are known for their wonderful taste as well as high nutritional value. They are a popular low-calorie snack. As apples provides a number of health benefits, it is recommended to eat an apple everyday for good health.

Apples originated in the Middle East about 4000 years ago. They are members of the rose family. They are available year round. More than 7,500 varieties of apples are grown all over the world.  The United States grows about 2,500 varieties of apples. Apples come in different varieties of color such as red, yellow, green, etc.  Apples range in size, from a bit bigger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit. Some of the most popular varieties of apples are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Rome, Empire, etc. Red Delicious is the most popular and most-produced apple in the United States. Golden Delicious is the second most popular. The only apple native to North America is the crabapple. Half the United States apple crop is turned into apple products like applesauce and apple juice. China produces more apples than any other country. Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California are the top 5 apple-producing states in the U.S. In all, 36 states produce apples commercially. The apple is the official state fruit of Washington, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Apples are known for having great nutritional value. They are an easy-to-carry, low-calorie snack and a natural mouth freshener. One medium-sized apple contains 80 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble), 10 mg calcium, 10 mg phosphorus, 0.25 mg iron, 159 mg potassium, 8 mg vitamin C, 73 IU vitamin A and 4 mcg folic acid. About 25% of their volume is air. That's why fresh apples float (hence bobbing for apples).

Apples are well-known for offering a number of health benefits. The health benefits of apples are associated with the phytonutrients, such as epicatechin, quercetin and procyanidin, as well as the minerals and vitamins found in apples. Phytonutrients present in the apple protect us from various diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. They have anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects. Apples are low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin prevents cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels and thus, reduces the risks of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Insoluble fiber in apples improve digestive health. Apples are a potent source of antioxidants, which are effective in preventing many health problems. The skin contains more antioxidants and fiber than the flesh. A flavonoid called phlorizin found in apple helps protect from osteoporosis and also increases bone density. Pectin in the apple lowers the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. It is also helpful in managing diabetes. Apple is effective in preventing various types of cancers such as liver cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer. (Internet sources)