Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.
For sure, apples are one of the basic foods, and all basic foods have nutritional benefits. But in this age of super-fruits, people want to know, what up with an apple?
Question: “Is one apple healthier than another?
Apple nutrition is just a matter of size. A larger apple simply has more nutrients. Apples can be as small as a cherry or as big as a grapefruit. One medium apple is 3-inches measured across the middle.
A medium apple has 95 calories, a good amount of fiber, a fair amount of vitamin C, and small amounts of many other vitamins and minerals. What the apple does not have is sodium, cholesterol and fat, and their sugar is naturally sweet unlike sugars that are added. Apples also contain compounds like phytonutrients (a.k.a. antioxidants) that fight cancers and inflammation and the soluble fiber pectin that feeds the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
Don’t peel the apple because most of the nutrients are concentrated right beneath the skin, but do clean the apple skin because it may contain chemical resides. Gently scrub the apple with a natural bristle brush and rinse under a stream of running water. Scrub organic apples too to remove dirt from the field. The harmless wax coating on apples is safe to eat, but makes cleaning chemicals harder. To remove wax, scrub the apple with 50:50 water and vinegar mix or a natural veggie wash or spray.
Eat More Apples
Question: “How can I make myself eat an apple a day?”
Answer: Diversify your options
Besides eating them fresh out of hand, apples can be added as an ingredient to recipes. Apples are made into soups, salads, slaws, and chutneys, as well as sauces, stuffing, and simmered side dishes with meat. They belong in pancakes, dumplings, crepes and fondues, not to mention pies, cakes, breads, and muffins. Make a simple pudding, crisp or Betty to use up quickly ripening apples.
Fresh apples do ripen quickly and so only buy what you can use. Apples keep for a few weeks in the fruit drawer of the fridge, but they ripen 10 times faster at room temperature. Also think about eating apples in the form of applesauce, juice and cider, butter, and canned and frozen slices. All forms count as an opportunity to eat more apples.
Here are five creative ways to cook with apples from the Recipe Browser at www.CalorieCount.com.
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