An Apple a Day…

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The average U.S. consumer eats about 19 pounds of fresh apples a year – about one apple per week.1 That is not a bad start, but why not an apple a day?

Why are apples such a good choice?
• They can be part of a good weight-management plan since they are low in calorie density, low in fat and high in fiber. Apples, along with other fruits and vegetables, help you fill up on fewer calories as compared to many processed, higher-fat foods such as packaged snacks and cookies.
• They may help lower your risk of heart disease as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle plan. Apples are a good source of soluble fiber which helps keep cholesterol low. They contain many beneficial plant chemicals that act as antioxidants.
• Apples can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar better because of their fiber content.
• Apples may help lower the risk for certain cancers. The National Cancer Institute has reported that foods containing flavonoids, or antioxidants like those found in apples, may reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as 50 percent.2
• Apples help keep your gums healthy because of the tannins they contain. Tannins can also help prevent urinary tract infections.

How do I select the best apple?
• Choose an apple that is shiny, firm and without bruises or other blemishes.
• Waxed apples have been shown to stay fresh and crisp longer than unwaxed apples. The wax is not harmful to humans and usually only one or two drops is used per apple. Apples are cleaned of all debris and pesticides before they are waxed.

Which apples are best for cooking and baking?
Generally, you want a firm apple with a tart taste such as Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonagold or McIntosh. More mealy apples, such as Delicious varieties, do not hold up as well during baking but they are often acceptable in a pinch.

Which apples are best for eating fresh?
Almost all apples are good for eating fresh, either out of hand or in salads, except for more tart, firm varieties such as Pippin or Granny Smith. Many apples, such as Cameo, are good for cooking, baking or eating fresh.

How should I store my apples?
Apples should be stored in a drawer or other container in your refrigerator. While fruit bowls look really pretty, this is not a long-term storage solution for apples.

Keep the peel!
Leave the peel on. It contains a gram of fiber and half the vitamin C found in an apple.

Port-apple Snack
An apple is already packaged neatly in its own skin, ready to go where you go. Wash your apple under cool running water and then wrap it in a napkin. Here are 7 places to take them:

1. Gym. An apple makes a refreshing, low-cal treat after your workout.
2. Lunch box. Pack an apple with your lunch.
3. Mall. Take them with you to the mall so you are not tempted with higher-calorie snacks.
4. Party. Take a basket of apples to a party. It makes a nice centerpiece and becomes a guilt-free dessert.
5. Friend’s house. Take 2 apples and share one with a friend.
6. After-school activities. Kids are hungry when they get out of school. Keep apples ready to go for soccer games, doctor’s appointments and choir practice.
7. Refrigerator. Keep them on hand in your refrigerator at home or work for snack attacks. They are a better choice than foods from a box or bag!!

References:
1. www.bestapples.com Washington Apple Commission 09/2002.
2. J National Cancer Institute; January 2002.

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