Is there any truth to the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? And if so, what are some of the unique nutritional ‘characteristics’ that apples have that no other fruit has?
Apples are probably one of the most loved and versatile fruits in the world and have been noted since early times for their positive effect on health. I don’t think that the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” should be taken literally. It is an overall balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables that will help keep us healthy and illness at bay.
Typical Nutritional Information for one medium sized apple, 150g:
Energy 370 kJ
Total fat 0.6g (almost none!)
Total dietary fibre 3g
Apples provide vitamins such as vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids and both soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract and helps increase satiety i.e. helps you to feel full. Soluble fibre can help to lower cholesterol, delay digestion and slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Did you know that it is the soluble fibre called pectin in apples that may help with colon dysfunction such as diarrhoea?
Apples are best eaten raw. It is also a good idea to eat the apple unpeeled as nutrients are contained in or near the skin as well as additional fibre.
Because many nutrients are found in and directly under the skin some of these will be lost when peeling the fruit. It is therefore a good idea to eat your apple with the skin.
Is there a difference in the health benefits of green apples versus red apples?
Not significant differences. It is always best to eat a variety of fruit of all colours!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set a world goal for everyone to increase their daily intake of vegetables and fruit to at least 400g a day. This is equivalent to 5 servings of 80g of a variety of vegetables and fruit.
Sadly, the average South African only eats about 3 of the recommended 5 minimum servings of vegetables and fruit each day. One medium-sized apple (green or red) provides 1 serving of fruit. Look out for some practical tips in the next blog post on how to include more apples into your diet.