Eating food when it’s in season delivers many more nutrients than at other times of the year. Right now, apples are the stars, packing a real nutrient punch, especially immune-boosting vitamin C.
With around 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide, Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares why apples will keep the doctor – and dentist – away and are the perfect on-the-run, anytime snack.
With the change of season often triggering more colds and flu, apples should be high on your menu. As well as containing plenty of vitamin C (mainly stored under the skin of the apples), they’re packed with immune-boosting antioxidants. They are also great for the cardiovascular system, containing plenty of heart-loving potassium. Try to go for organic apples to gain the nutrient benefits without the pesticides.
Did you know that one unpeeled apple contains around 3.6 grams of fibre? The recommended daily intake for adults is around 18 grams of fibre, so an apple a day will help you reach your daily quota.
Our typical western diet tends to be low in fibre, which causes all manner of digestive issues, with constipation being a real issue for many. Sluggish bowels can lead to a toxic build-up in the liver making you feel tired, irritable and low in concentration. Certain foods contain soluble and insoluble fibre, both good for digestion; importantly, apples contain both types.
Apples make a great snack at any time and especially if you want to lose a few kilos. Importantly, they are low on the glycaemic index, meaning they won’t affect your blood sugar balance. The fibre content of apples also helps you to feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to reach for less healthy snacks.
Apples are great on their own but try eating them with a few protein-laden nuts such as almonds or a handful of seeds. This gives you the perfect protein/carb combination, which will stop further snacking and keep your energy levels up for longer.
We all know high cholesterol can lead to heart disease. However, most cases of raised cholesterol levels can be managed through the diet.
Apples can be especially helpful because they contain a special kind of fibre called pectin, which helps eliminate excess blood fats via the stool. Antioxidants also help protect the arteries from free radical damage providing further benefits for heart health.
Although mildly acidic, apples can help protect your teeth. The reason? They have a mild cleansing effect and can help remove the plaque, which causes decay, from teeth and gums. They can also help remove stains.
Drinking a glass of water after eating an apple helps remove any lasting acidity while still retain the teeth-cleansing action.