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The Apple of My Eye

November 2, 2009

Many people complain about the lack of fruit options during the fall and winter. It’s true that there isn’t much variety compared to spring and summer, but one of my favorite fruits is best this time of year: Apples!

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Apples from my CSA

There are over a dozen types of apples to choose from, but my favorites are Gala, Braeburn, and Fuji. I find these crisp and slightly tart — perfect as part of an afternoon snack.

Surely you know the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but is this really true? Given the following health benefits of apples, it appears there is truth in this adage:

  • Apples are full of antioxidants, which help protect the heart by preventing damage to blood vessel walls, keeping blood flowing freely to and from the heart.
  • Apples are full of fiber. The soluble fiber helps lower the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol; the insoluble fiber acts as a bulking agent and helps in the digestion process.
  • Apples may lower the risk of certain cancers. There is some evidence that eating apples daily reduces the risk of lung cancer in women.
  • Apples may lower asthma risk.

Nutritionally, a medium 5-ounce apple contains 74 calories, 20 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 0.5 g protein, 0 g fat.

Most of the health benefits of apples comes from their skin, which also provides the bulk of the fiber, so be sure not to remove it before eating. While I don’t think organic food is worth the extra cost for most food (see “Is Organic Food Worth It?“), since I recommend eating the skin, I also recommend splurging on organic apples.

What’s your favorite type of apple?

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  1. This is very helpful info, especially the second bullet point. Usually I don’t like apples so much because so many are mealy. Hopefully this time of year they’ll be better.

  2. I love apples, especially during this time of year. They are so fresh. My favorite? Used to be Fuji, but my friend (another RD) brought me some new variety from Minnesota a month ago. Of course, I can’t remember their name now, but they were great. Some new version of the Honey Crisp.

    1. Most, but definitely not all of the nutrients are in the skin of the apple. The pulp also contains fiber and antioxidants, so it is okay to peel the skin when using apples in cooking, which is a common thing to do.