Monday, September 10, 2012


Fresh apples have many health benefits

Is there anything more satisfying than going to a local orchard, picking crisp, juicy apples and crunching into one, fresh off the tree?  It’s enjoyable for people of all ages.  I wouldn’t mention this to the kids, as they would inevitably roll their eyes, but there are many health benefits of apples, too. 

First, an apple contains several important vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B9 (folate) and vitamin C.  Also vital to good health are the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.  

Phytonutrients are also beneficial to human health — these are compounds found in plants.  These phytonutrients may protect the brain from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, and are believed to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes.

Last year, the Iowa Women's Health Study reported that, among the 34,000-plus women it's been tracking for nearly 20 years, apples were associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

Then there is fiber.  Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids in digestion and weight loss.  Apples are considered a low-glycemic food and therefore do not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. To get the most benefit out of apples, the whole fruit should be eaten.  Peeling the skin or cooking apples results in loss of some of the nutrients.  

As apple season gets under way, let’s all  get out in the fresh air, support local farms and orchards, have fun, and reap health benefits as well. 

Alice Facente is a community education nurse for the Backus Health System. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

Agreed. What do you recommend using to wash apples? Do you use a commercial spray, soap and water or a soak in a vinegar/water mix?
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