One of the simple joys of living in Tasmania, or the “Apple Isle” as it is known, is stopping at a roadside stall to buy ripe local apples. New-season apples are tart and crisp. As the season wears on, farmers sell apples that are sweet, juicy, and full-flavored.
There is no tropical fruit grown in this cold climate, and mangos have traveled more food miles than locally grown fruit, so instead I opt for a pink lady, red gala, or the occasional golden delicious.
I loved munching on apples when I was a child, and nothing has changed. That’s why I was excited to read about a study in Australia called the “Apple Report.” The report is a review of the scientific research published over the past 10 years, which confirms the science of why we say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
In the supermarket, the apple is often overshadowed by the many proclaimed “super foods” now competing for the spotlight with their tell-all packaging. Yet according to the “Apple Report,” the humble apple rates highly for its nutritional value and is the only food identified to reduce the risk of two of the largest causes of death in Australia and North America—heart disease and cancer.
“Apple Report” author Shane Landon says that apples are naturally rich in nutrients, unlike many processed foods.
“We often hear about new foods hitting the supermarket shelves that have had this or that nutrient added to them during processing, but apples are a natural nutrition powerhouse” he says.
In the “Apple Report,” scientific findings also conclude that when apples are eaten regularly, they can protect the body from asthma and Type 2 diabetes and can even help with weight loss. Apples are an excellent sweet snack since they are high in soluble fiber and contain about 95 calories.
Presently, everyone’s talking about the preventative effect of antioxidants. Apples contain high levels of antioxidants. Depending on the variety, they measure an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of around 3,000 to 6,000 TE (Trolox Equivalents, a baseline for comparing antioxidants) per 100 grams of fruit, which is high compared to some other fruits.
And like many fruits, apples contain vitamin C, which supports the immune system.
For those who relish apples as I do, without giving a thought to how they could actually be doing justice to their health, now they can enjoy apples even more. With the variety and quality of apples available, there is no reason why we all can’t enjoy an apple a day, and for the price, the common apple delivers.
“The research is compelling and the health message is simple—we must get back to basics. An apple a day is a very good start,” Landon says.
Choose apples that have a firm texture. The skin should look fresh and bright. Always wash them under running water, as the skin may contain pesticide or fungicide residues. Apples can be kept fresh in the fridge for up to three weeks.
Favorite Apple Varieties
Gala. Galas are sweet and juicy with brilliant, rosy-red skin. They have firm and crisp flesh. If you bake, they are best in pies for an occasional homemade dessert.
Granny Smith. Crisp, juicy with green skin, this variety has a sweetly tart flesh that is excellent for eating out of hand and in salads and is also popular for cooking.
Pink Lady. This variety is a beautiful ornamental apple ranging from brilliant red to yellow with red and pink blushing. The flesh is sweet-tart and is good for eating out of hand or cooking.
Golden Delicious. These apples are wonderfully crisp with a creamy white flesh that is sweet, tasty, and juicy.
Fuji. Fuji apples are large, with a honey-sweet taste. The flesh is firm-textured, crisp, and juicy. Many consider the Fuji to be the perfect eating apple; Fuji has a high sugar content, making it good for cooking since will retain its shape. Fuji originated in Japan.