The load of nutritive value present in an apple make it’s a NATURE’S ORIGINAL SUPERFOOD
We all are aware of the old Welsh proverb an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but we are still not aware of the reason that makes this fruit so special? What health benefits are associated with eating apples?
Apple The Miracle food is one among the most consumed and cultivated fruits in the world.
The presence of important antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fibre in an apple makes it tagged as World’s Healthiest Food.
This article talks from cultivation to nutritional content of the fruit and its possible health benefits.
Cultivation of apple
The deciduous tree in the rose family is best known for its deliciously sweet fruit Apple. Apples are grown in a medium sized tree belonging to Rosaceae family.According to ancient history, Apple was originated from the nutrient dense mountains of Kazakhstan. Today it is being cultivated across the world and it is most widely grown species in Genus Malus.
There are religious beliefs and mythological significance associated with an apple in many cultures like Greek or Europe Christian tradition.
These delicious and crunchy fruits are among the most popular and favourite for health conscious and fitness lovers.
This nature’s wonder is packed with rich phytonutrients which are indispensable for optimal health. Antioxidants loaded in apple provides various health promoting and disease prevention properties, and therefore it totally justifies the proverb an apple a day keeps the doctor a way.
Apples are available in many varieties, colors and sizes. The weight of an apple is also dependent on its species.
Let’s take a quick look on to the nutritive values of an apple.
In a 100-gram raw apple with the skin, you get 52 calories and most of the energy in an apple is coming from the carbs. It contains 86% water,.3 gram of protein, 13.8 gram of carbohydrate and 2.4 gram of fiber.
Mainly, apples are composed of carbs and water. They are a rich source of simple sugars like fructose, sucrose, and glucose.
Despite high presence of carbohydrate and sugar content in an apple, the glycemic index is very low (Glycemic Index is a value which depicts the effect of food on the sugar level, a high value is associated with various health risks whereas low values are related to various health benefits).
Glycemic Index in an apple ranges from 29 to 44
Apples are a very rich source of fibre. One medium-sized apple contains near about 4 grams of fibre which reach to 17% of the recommended daily fibre intake. The fiber provided by an apple are made up of both insoluble and soluble fibres. Soluble fibre has been associated with numerous health benefits whereas insoluble fibre helps in peristalsis movement.
Apples also contain a moderate amount of many vitamins and minerals. Apples are a good source of vitamin C (a common antioxidant in fruits). They contain a high level of mineral potassium; which makes an apple healthy for your heart.
Apples are high in the content of various antioxidants. These antioxidants are responsible for many health benefits.
Some of these antioxidants are
Quercetin: This antioxidant has certain anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-depressant properties. It is present in some plant foods
Catechin: This natural antioxidant is also found in green tea. It improves brain and muscle functions.
Chlorogenic Acid: This antioxidant lowers the blood sugar and causes weight loss. It is also found in coffee.
Apple is also called as weight loss friendly food, because of its high fibre content and low energy density.
How to Select and Store
While purchasing, always look for firm fruits with rich colouring. Try to go for deep red colour apple with a slight yellow tinge, for apple with yellow or green colour, a slight blush is best. Based on your preference for a sweeter or more tart fruit or you want to consume an apple (raw or cooked) will guide your choice of variety.
When you want to consume sweet apples, go for Red with slight Golden
Braeburn and Fuji are slightly tart in taste whereas, Gravenstein, pippin is among the tartest variety of apples. They are best utilized for cooking purpose.
An apple is something which never disappears from our modern day supermarket, no matter what time of the year, apple will always be available. But there are certain varieties which appear for a short time and sold fresh. They cannot be preserved and stored for longer time. Apple season begins at the end of summer and lasts until early winter. Apple from Cold storage or imported from various parts of the world are available throughout the year.
Always purchase whole apples than apple juice, whole apples are a much better nutritional choice. Not only whole apples are a richer source of dietary fibre but they also contain a high amount of polyphenolic phytonutrients in them. The current processes of extracting juice reduce the concentration of polyphenolic phytonutrient to a great extent.
The time of apple storage varies with variety. They can be stored for a long period of time ranging from 3 to 4 months. Cold storage (35-40F/2-4C) is one preservation method which not only minimizes the nutrient loss but it also helps to maintain the moisture of the product.
After certain months the polyphenol content presents in an apple reduces gradually including both flavonoid and non-flavonoid polyphenols. However, the cold storage method is able to retain the desired amounts of polyphenols and other nutrients in apple.
Apples can also be preserved in various forms like apple candies, jam, marmalades, apple butter, apple conserve, dried apples, apple molasses, apple shrub, Lacto-fermented apples.
You must have heard, one apple in a bunch spoils rest of the apple.
Well, research shows the truth behind this saying. A bruised apple (dropped or cut by any mean) liberates ethylene gas. This ethylene gas poses the risk for other apples in the bunch and it greatly affects the quality and decreases their shelf life. For this reason, it’s very much important to handle apples with great care, and always try to remove the damaged apples from the groups of apples whenever you are stored in bulk.
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