By Patricia Salzer, RD
Does an apple a day REALLY keep the doctor away? A 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine was unable to show that eating an apple every day has any impact on the need to visit the doctor. But fear not apple lovers! Even though apples may not keep the doctor away, they do have a long list of health benefits, as documented online by the Harvard School of Public Health. And that’s great news since it’s apple picking season in upstate New York!
How do apples help us maintain health?
According to the Harvard posting, apples lower our risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, metabolic syndrome, and help with brain function and memory. They contain antioxidants, fiber, and are a calorie bargain. And, apple picking is a fun, fresh air activity that can be done as a family, or with a group of friends, while practicing social distancing.
Adults need about two servings of fruit per day, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov. A medium apple counts as one serving of fruit, but since many apples are much larger, keep in mind that moderation, portion control, and variety are important things to consider. And, even though apples are a powerhouse for nutrition, don’t make them the only fruit you eat because they don’t meet all our nutritional needs. A varied diet helps us get the assortment of nutrients our bodies need.
How do you like them apples?!
There are so many fun serving ideas or recipes involving apples. Although apple pie is not quite the fruit delivery system I had in mind, an occasional small piece can be a welcome treat.
Apples are versatile at all meals and snacks, starting with breakfast on oatmeal or pancakes.
Here are additional ways to enjoy apples:
- Add apples to a tossed salad or coleslaw.
- Add to a winter squash soup or to a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich.
- Have roasted apples with chicken or pork.
- Make an apple crisp with whole wheat flour, oats, and walnuts.
- Limit apple juice or cider, as you are better off eating whole fruit.
The healthiest apple is one that you enjoy, whether it’s tart or sweet. And they’re a great snack to have every day, even if they don’t really keep the doctor away!
Patricia Salzer, RD, workplace wellness support coordinator at Univera Healthcare, was honored with the 2020 Media Excellence Award by the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NYSAND), in recognition of her “consistent and active involvement in the promotion of evidence-based nutrition through the media.” The award is only presented when the NYSAND award committee determines there is an outstanding candidate.
An easy recipe for Apple Salsa
2 cups diced unpeeled apples
1/2 cup diced green, yellow, or red bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup diced scallions
1 garlic clove minced
2 T minced fresh cilantro
2 T minced fresh parsley
1 T honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preparation: Combine all ingredients, stirring well.
Serve with baked tortilla chips or roasted sweet potatoes, pork, or chicken.