Delicious and crunchy, apple fruit is one of the most popular and favorite fruits among the health conscious, fitness lovers who firmly believe in the concept of “health is wealth.” This wonderful fruit is packed with rich phyto-nutrients that, in the true sense, indispensable for optimal health. Certain antioxidants in apple have several health promoting and disease prevention properties, and thereby, truly justifying the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Scientific name: Malus domestica.
Apples are obtained from medium-sized tree belonging to the Rosaceae family. The apple tree is thought to have originated in nutrient-rich mountain ranges of Kazakhstan. Today, it is being cultivated in many parts of the world including the US as an important commercial crop.
Apple fruit features oval or pear shape. Its outer peel comes in different hues and colors depending upon the cultivar type. Internally, its crispy, juicy pulp is off-white to cream in color, and has a mix of mild sweet and tart flavor. Its seeds are bitter in taste, and therefore, inedible.
Hundreds of varieties of apples that are meant to be used either as table fruits or dessert and cooking apples grown inside the US and worldwide. Cooking apples tend to be larger in size, crispier, and tarter than dessert types.
Health benefits of apple
·Delicious and crunchy apple fruit is notable for its impressive list of phtyto-nutrients, and anti-oxidants. Studies suggest that its components are essential for optimal growth, development, and overall wellness.
·Apples are low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide just 50 calories. They, however, contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, the fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which helps prevent absorption of dietary-LDL or bad cholesterol in the gut. The fiber also saves the colon mucous membrane from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals inside the colon.
·Apples are rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrients flavonoids and polyphenolics. The total measured anti-oxidant strength (ORAC value) of 100 g apple fruit is 5900 TE. Some of the important flavonoids in apples arequercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2. Additionally, they are also good in tartaric acid that gives tart flavor to them. Altogether, these compounds help the body protect from deleterious effects of free radicals.
·Apple fruit contains good quantities of vitamin-C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
·Further, apple fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together, these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the human body.
·Apples also carry a small amount of minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus, counters the bad influences of sodium.