The Amazing Apple

An apple a day… Really?

by Sarah Landau

apple 

            Yes, the old adage is true. Apples pack an incredible nutrient punch that can help to keep you happy, healthy, and… out of the doctor’s office.

            What’s so great about apples, you say? Well, I’ll tell ya! They are chock full of digestive enzymes, vitamins, and antioxidants. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins C and A, which also fall into the antioxidant category along with Catechins and Quercetin. We all know that these immune-boosters are good for us, but why?

            Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, has the ability to combat free radical damage on a cellular level, help to replenish your bodily stores of vitamin E, up your body’s ability to absorb iron, and generally fight cancer.

            Vitamin A, also known as Beta-Carotene, is responsible for the upkeep of your vision as well as fighting off viruses.

           Catechins provide protection from free radical damage.

But the real star of the show here is Quercetin…

            Quercetin is able to provide protection for insulin-producing cells in the pancreas (great for diabetics!), assist in the maintenance of healthy sinus cells (great for people with allergies!), help maintain cardiovascular health (great for everyone!), as well as support the functioning  of mitochondria (SUPER for energy production!)

*These awesome antioxidants are found in highest concentration in the skin of the apple, so make sure you are buying organic produce that doesn’t require peeling!

*The digestive enzymes and certain nutrients contained in fruit are very delicate and susceptible to heat, so it is always best to eat your fruits raw. YUM!

            I was blessed to have spent my youth in upstate New York, where autumn is apple season and the varieties of colors and flavors abound. There are Cortlands, Braeburns, and Winesaps (my favorite!) as well as Pink Ladies, Macintoshes, and Honey Crisps, not to mention the old fall-backs, Granny Smith and Red Delicious– to name a few. There are tons of varieties as beautiful and diverse as you could imagine. Apple-picking is still one of my favorite fall activities when I have the luxury of being near an orchard.

            Here in the Reno area, apple orchards are few and far-between. But don’t let that discourage you from experiencing the bounty that this miracle fruit has to offer! In any grocery store you can find the basics, but if you’re bored with plain old red or green, check out the Great Basin Community Food Co-op for an awesome selection.

            I love to eat a good, crisp apple just the way it is, but there are soooo many different raw recipes that will not only elate your taste buds, but nutrify them as well! Here’s one that I came up with:

Raw Apple Crisp for One

1 apple, cored and sliced very thin

½ tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. honey or maple syrup

1 tsp. coconut oil

2 tbsp. chopped walnuts

2 tbsp. shredded coconut

a dash of cinnamon

a pinch of salt

In a small bowl, toss together apple slices, cinnamon, and lemon juice to prevent oxidation (browning). Arrange slices in layers in a small ramekin. In another small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover apple slices with nut mixture. Place ramekin in a dehydrator on high for no more than one hour or in your oven at the lowest temperature (probably 170) with the door slightly open for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

References:

Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods. Seattle, Washington: George Mateljan Foundation,                    2007. Print

Marie, Joanne. Foods High in Catechins. SFGate. Healthyeating.SFGate.com. Web.

Richards, Byron J.. Quercetin for Nerves, Allergies, Immunity, and Metabolism. Byron J. Richards Wellness Resources. WellnessResources.com. Web.