An apple one day? – Sentinel of Santa Cruz
My grandchildren – who can be picky about certain fruits and veg at times – have a different story when my two apple trees are bursting with crispy, sweet fruit this time of year.
“Can we pick apples, Grammy?” They beg. When my grandson’s apple reaches the heart, he carefully selects the seeds and puts them in his pocket for planting on his return home. I like this.
Besides being one of the most convenient and tasty snacks (and a good source of vitamin C), experts say there may be something in the old adage: “An apple a day. drives the doctor away.
Polish researchers observed that people who ate at least one apple a day had a lower risk of developing colon cancer than those who did not. They attributed this discovery to two possible reasons: Apples are a rich source of phytochemicals – natural substances that include polyphenols and flavonoids. These herbal chemicals can fight the growth of cancer cells. Apples are also a good source of dietary fiber, another plant substance associated with a lower risk of colon cancer.
Other studies have noted how the phytochemicals in apples can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Quercetin, a natural flavonoid in apples, may help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. And a Cornell University research team has discovered other phytochemicals that may kill or slow the growth of at least three different types of human cancer cells: the colon, breast, and liver.
A rule for eating apples. Make three. Wash your hands with soap and water. Then wash your apples with clean water (no soap is required, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration). Finally, eat your apples with the skin on (unless you have a reason not to). This is where most of the fiber and phytochemicals reside.
Speaking of fiber, apples are a good source of a soluble fiber called pectin. Yes, it is the same substance that makes jams and jellies gel.
Soluble fiber like pectin is known for its ability to lower cholesterol and blood sugar when it passes undigested through our intestines. These undigested fibers also feed the good bacteria in our intestines, which helps keep bad bacteria that cause disease under control.
I start getting phone calls from neighbors about my apples when they see ripe fruit falling from my trees. That’s when experts at the University of Illinois Extension say my apples are ready to harvest. They also say that apples are ripe when the “sub” or “earthy” color around the stem changes from green to greenish yellow. Fully ripe apples are also easy to pick straight from the tree. My grandchildren like it the most. Me too.
Barbara Intermill is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and Diabetes Care Specialist affiliated with the Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition: The Uncomplicated Science of Eating”. Email him at [email protected]