Pick, Wash, Eat & Enjoy- Apples make the perfect snack
The fresh produce available at your local farmer’s market evolves with the change in season. With fall comes an assortment of apples. Whether you’re on the go and need a quick snack to grab, baking a sweet dessert, or making homemade apple cider for crisp fall days, apples make a nutritious addition.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” isn’t a new adage. The nutritional benefits of apples make this fruit a healthy choice. Apples contain phytochemicals, which include flavonoids, isoflavonoids, and phenolic acids. Apples contain a large amount of flavonoids in the form of quercetin, cathechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid. These flavonoids have strong antioxidant activity, and help combat free radicals that result from oxidation within the body caused by natural metabolism and aging as well environmental factors. Studies suggest that the effects of oxidation may be linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A study in the Nutrition Journal found that apples ranked second (behind cranberries) in total antioxidant activity in comparison to other widely consumed fruits and vegetables. They scored apples as the highest for portion of free phenolics- meaning these antioxidant properties are more readily available to be absorbed in the bloodstream for use. While all apples have valuable antioxidants, Fuji and Red Delicious ranked the highest for levels of flavonoids in the study, while Empire apples came in last.
Before you reach for the peeler, note that much of an apple’s nutrients like fiber and quercetin is in the skin. According to a recent article in Current Sports Medicine Reports quercetin is a powerful flavonoid with antioxidant activity including anti-inflammation, anticarcinogenic, antiviral, psychostimulant, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective properties.
Quercetin may be able to improve health and performance now as well as protect against future health risks. The psychostimulant properties of quercetin may have a caffeine-like effect on the body and enhance mental and physical performance by delaying fatigue. We all need a little boost to get out the door and keep moving especially as the temperatures start to fall.
With flu season in full swing this you may definitely want to consume the skin of apples as studies suggest that quercetin may help protect against infections primarily due to exercise stress and a decrease in immune function that may lead to upper respiratory infections. According to the article, “quercetin has been reported to reduce infectivity of target cells and subsequent replication against a wide variety of respiratory viruses.”
Since the skin of an apple is a nutritional hot spot be sure to always wash your apples as you would with any produce, but also avoid the risk of pesticides by buying organic, preferably from your local farmer’s market.
Apple’s Nutritional Stats
One medium (3”diameter) apple raw with skin
Fiber: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 25 grams
Sugars: 19 grams
14% daily vitamin C
Apple Snack Ideas from Kelly’s Kooler
Apples make the perfect on the go snack, because they are portable, filling, and delicious.
Try apples with these dippers:
- 1 tbsp of peanut butter or almond butter
- 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese
- 1 tbsp caramel dipping sauce
Zip it (zip lock bag): Apple Trail Mix
Cut an apple into small squares and mix it with almonds, walnuts, cashews and sprinkle with cinnamon for a quick snack.
Boyer J, Liu R. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutrition Journal [serial online]. May 12, 2004;3:5. Available from: MEDLINE with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 11, 2009.
Davis J, Murphy E, Carmichael M. Effects of the Dietary Flavonoid Quercetin Upon Performance and Health. Current Sports Medicine Reports [serial online]. July 2009;8(4):206-213. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 11, 2009.