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SuperFruit of the month club: apples

Apples are good for your teeth and gums.
Apples are good for your teeth and gums.
PhotoXpress/Cherry-Merry

Henry David Thoreaux once said, "Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits." There are over 7,500 varieties of apples, 2,500 of which are grown in the United States. And archaeologists have evidence of people eating apples as far back as 6500 B.C.

Apples are absolutely sodium, cholesterol, and fat free. A regular diet of apples is good for your heart, lungs, bones, skin, and hair. And here's some information about apples that you may not know:

  • The apple skin is considered roughage, and is a great remedy for constipation.
  • Apples contain tannins which help reduce tooth decay and prevent gum disease.
  • Of all the fruits, apples are the richest source of pectin, a natural fiber that aids digestion, lowers the body's need for insulin, and helps in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
  • The pectin in apples also lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol. People who eat two apples per day may lower their cholesterol by as much as 16 percent.
  • Apples provide boron, an essential trace element that helps harden bones. Strong bones help prevent osteoporosis.
  • The complex carbohydrates in apples give your body a longer, more even energy boost than high-sugar snacks.
  • Research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, indicated that apple juice may actually increase the production of essential neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in improved memory.
  • Green apples act as a liver and gall bladder cleanser and may aid in softening gallstones.
  • According to Cornell University scientists, a group of chemicals in apples could protect the brain from the type of damage that triggers Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
  • A recent study showed that children with asthma who drank apple juice on a daily basis suffered from less wheezing than children who drank apple juice only once per month.

While all apples are good for you, nutritionists say that Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples in particular, contain abundant amounts of both collagen and elastin which are good for reducing wrinkles and maintaining healthy youthful skin. Braeburn apples contain ingredients that can protect you from harmful UV rays. Apples can also be good for acne, sunburn, and as a natural facial mask and toner.

Now you may want to pick the glossiest or shiniest apple in your grocery store, but that can be a mistake because the high gloss is usually a type of petroleum-based wax that the supplier puts on the apple to give it a longer shelf life. If you do get this type of apple make sure you wash it thoroughly with warm water and then dry it off completely. Of course the best apples are 100% organic. And even though the local farmers' markets are winding down, you can still find fresh juicy apples at local markets such as EarthFare in Knoxville and The Market in Maryville.

Jane Austen believed, "Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness." Warm apple pie with ice cream, cinnamon and caramel apples, or a crisp crunchy fresh apple; what's your fall favorite?

Fun Facts: The only apple native to North America is the crabapple. Apples float because 25% of their volume is air.

Apples are a member of the rose family. China & the U.S. are the largest producers of apples.

The science of apple growing is called pomology. In Norse mythology, a magic apple was said to keep people young forever.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away," is believed to have orginated from an old Welsh proverb that said, "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread."

US Apple Association Quotes about Apples More Facts about apples Apple Varieties

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