Delicious and crunchy, apple fruit is one of the most popular and favorite fruits among the health conscious, fitness lovers who firmly believe in the concept of “health is wealth.” This wonderful fruit indeed packed with rich phytonutrients that in the real sense indispensable for optimal health and wellness. Certain antioxidants in apples have health promoting and disease prevention properties, and thereby, truly justifying the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Scientific name: Malus domestica.
Apples are obtained from medium-sized tree belonging to the Rosaceae family. The apple tree is thought to have originated in nutrient-rich mountain ranges of Kazakhstan. Today, its cultivation fostered in many parts of the world including the USA as a major commercial crop.
Apple fruit features oval or pear shape. Its outer peel appears in different hues and colors depending upon the cultivar type. Internally, it's crispy, juicy pulp is off-white to cream in color, and has a mix of mildly sweet and tart flavor. Its seeds are bitter in taste, and therefore, inedible.
Hundreds of varieties of apples that meant to be used either as table fruits or dessert and cooking varieties are grown in the US and worldwide. Cooking apples tend to be larger in size, crispier, and tarter than dessert types.
Delicious and crunchy apple fruit is notable for its impressive list of phtytonutrients, and antioxidants. Studies suggest that its components are essential for optimal growth, development, and overall wellness.
Apples are low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide just 50 calories. They, however, contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, the fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which helps prevent absorption of dietary-LDL or bad cholesterol in the gut. The fiber also saves the colon mucous membrane from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals inside the colon.
Apples are rich in antioxidant phytonutrients flavonoids and polyphenolics. The total measured antioxidant strength (ORAC value) of 100 g apple fruit is 5900 TE. Some of the important flavonoids in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
Additionally, they are also good in tartaric acid that gives tart flavor to them. Altogether, these compounds help the body protect from harmful effects of free radicals.
Apple fruit contains good quantities of vitamin-C and β-carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
Further, apple fruit is an ideal source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together, these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the human body.
Apples also carry small quantities of minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus, counters the bad influences of sodium.
Fresh apples can be readily available in the stores all around the season. Choose fresh, bright, firm textured apples with a pleasnt flavor. Avoid fruits with pressure marks over their surface as they indicate underlying mottled pulp.
Fresh apples can be kept at room temperature for few days and stored in the refrigerator for up to two to three weeks. Wash them in clean running cold water before use.
Wash apples thoroughly in the running water to remove any surface dust, insecticide/fungicide sprays. Trim off its top end using a paring knife, and cut the fruit into two halves. Take out tiny, centrally placed, bitter seeds. Slice the fruit into desirable cubes or slices.
Photo by: kanko
Here are some serving tips:
Eat apple fruit "as it is" along with its peel to get maximum health-benefits.
Sliced apple turns brown (enzymatic brownish discoloration) on exposure to air due to conversion in iron form from ferrous oxide to ferric oxide. If you have to serve them sliced, rinse slices in water added with few drops of fresh lemon.
Cloudy as well as clear apple juice is a healthy alternative drink with dinner.
Apple fruit is also used in the preparation of fruit jam, pie, and fruit salads.
Good yield demands close attention and supervision of apple fruit crop. According to the environmental working group reports, the apple fruit is one of the heavily pesticide-contaminated produces. The most common pesticides found in apples are organo-phosphorous and organochloride pesticides like Permethrin and DDT. Therefore, it is recommended to wash the fruit thoroughly before use. If possible, use organically certified apples. (Medical disclaimer).
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Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk.
About the Apple-Malus domestica.