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Eating Well With Whole Foods: Apples

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski


Greek and Roman mythology referred to apples as symbols of love and beauty. Today, we often refer to someone that we cherish as, "The apple of our eye!" October is an ideal time to enjoy the apple, one of nature’s most adored and delicious fruits. Approximately 10,000 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world. More than 7,000 of them are grown in the U.S but only one type, the crabapple, is native to America. A wild apple that is less than 2 inches in diameter, the crabapple is the ancestor of many of the varieties of apples grown today. The Delicious variety is the most popular grown apple in the U.S. The apple is a member of the Rose family and ranges in color and taste from moderately sweet and refreshing (e.g. Golden & Red Delicious) to pleasantly tart (e.g. Granny Smith). The top apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

In Norse mythology, a magic apple was said to keep people young forever. While not necessarily a fountain of youth, apples have many health benefits. They are sometimes called nature’s toothbrush because they help clean the teeth and massage the gums. The fiber and flavanoids in apples help lower cholesterol, reduce heart attacks, stroke and colon cancer. Apples’ insoluble fiber works like bran by attaching on to LDL cholesterol in the digestive tract and removing it from the body, while apples’ soluble fiber pectin reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol produced in the liver. Quercitin, a powerful flavanoid and antioxidant, is found in the skin of apples. Coupled with Vitamin C, also found in apples, the presence of these two antioxidants is yet another way -besides fiber - that apples help boost the immune system, lower cancer and heart disease. Studies show that adding a large apple to one’s daily diet can decrease serum cholesterol 8-11% while adding two can lower cholesterol 16% proving that "an apple (or two!) a day will surely keep the doctor away!" Apples have also been associated with reduced asthma, type 2 diabetes, and increased lung function and weight loss.

When purchasing apples choose ones that are firm with rich colors. Fresh apples float because 25% of their volume is air so if there’s a tub of water handy you may want to chuck one in to test its freshness! Opt for organic ones and don’t peel them since many of the health-promoting antioxidant compounds, like phenols, are located in the skin. If you don’t buy organic ones ask your grocer what type of wax is used to protect the apple’s outer surface during shipping. Do your best to avoid petroleum-based waxes, which contain solvent residues or wood resins. Always wash apples well before eating them. Apples store well in the refrigerator and can be frozen for an even longer time without losing a significant percentage of their health-promoting nutrients. Tart apples, like Granny Smith, are best for baked desserts, like apple pie, because they retain their texture during cooking while sweeter varieties, like Braeburn and Fuji, are best eaten raw. Apples are an excellent addition to salads and baked goods, and are terrific with organic cheeses and honey. Top them with raw almond or peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a healthy sweet treat. Plan a fun family outing to your local apple orchard to pick one of fall’s finest fruits.

Baked Spiced Apples

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups organic natural apple juice

4 tbsp organic honey

4 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. cardamom

Preheat oven to 3500F. Peel and core 4 large Cortland apples leaving bottoms intact. Set aside on an oven-safe pan. Put apple juice, honey, and spices into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, stir, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Pour hot syrup into the apples and bake about 30 minutes or until the apples are soft. For an even more decadent dessert, serve with vanilla soy yogurt or rice cream "ice cream."

 

Suzann Pileggi is a certified holistic health counselor. She works with clients on nourishing their body and soul by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. She conducts special sugar seminars at Radu’s Physical Culture gym in NYC. Visit her website at www. suzannpileggi.com, email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com, or call her at (212) 799-4169 for a FREE initial holistic health consultation. Phone consultations and group seminars available.


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