What Is an Apple?
An apple is a crunchy, bright-colored fruit, one of the most popular in the United States. You’ve probably heard the age-old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Although eating apples isn’t a cure-all, it is good for your health.
European settlers brought apples with them to the Americas. They preferred them to North America’s native crabapple, a small, tarter fruit.
Today, many types of apples are grown in the U.S., but a small percentage of the ones you can buy in grocery stores are imported. Each type of apple has a different shape, color, and texture.
An apple can be sweet or sour, and its flavor can vary depending on what type you’re eating.
There are many varieties, including:
- Red Delicious
- Crispin Gala
- Granny Smith Fuji
Apple Health Benefits
Apples can do a lot for you, thanks to plant chemicals called flavonoids. And they have pectin, a fiber that breaks down in your gut. If you take off the apple’s skin before eating it, you won’t get as much of the fiber or flavonoids.
The fiber can slow digestion so you feel fuller after eating. This can keep you from overeating. Eating fiber-rich foods helps control symptoms and lessens the effects of acid reflux. An apple’s fiber can also help with diarrhea and constipation.
Some studies show that plant chemicals and the fiber of an apple peel protect against blood vessel and heart damage. They also can help lower your cholesterol, and they might protect your cells’ DNA from something called oxidative damage, which is one of the things that can lead to cancer.
Scientists also give apples credit for helping:
- Your lung strength
- Your heart
- With asthma
- Bone health
- Weight loss
- Your brain (easing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related memory loss)
- Your immune system
- Your gut health
You don’t need to be concerned about the sugar in apples. Although they have carbs that affect your blood sugar, these carbs are different from other sugars that strip away fiber that’s good for you.
One medium apple has about:
- 100 calories
- 25 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of fiber
- 19 grams of sugar
- A variety of strong antioxidants
Although apples do have health benefits, eating too many of them (like anything) can be bad for you. Too much fruit can cause you to gain weight.
There are a few others things to keep in mind:
Pesticides. Apples are one of the fruits that have high pesticide residues because bugs and disease are more likely to affect them. It’s always best to wash fruit like apples before you eat them.
Seeds. You might’ve also heard that eating apple seeds or the core is bad for you. The seeds do have chemicals that turn into cyanide in your body, but you would have to crush and eat many seeds for them to harm you. In fact, an average adult would have to eat at least 150 crushed seeds for a risk of cyanide poisoning. The seeds are actually rich in protein and fiber.
Interactions. Apple juice can interact with the allergy drug fexofenadine (Allegra). The juice makes the medicine hard for your body to absorb.
How to Buy and Prepare Apples
When you’re buying apples, make sure they feel firm and heavy. The skin shouldn’t have bruises, cuts, or soft spots.
Make sure to store apples in your refrigerator to keep them fresh longer. They can be stored at room temperature, but they’ll ripen much faster.
When you eat an apple, leave the skin on because it has more than half of the apple's fiber.
The types of apples that are best for baking are usually tart and slightly sweet varieties, including:
- Granny Smith
Juicy, sweet types are best if you’d rather eat your apple raw. These include:
- Red Delicious GalaFuji
You can enjoy your apple in many different ways, including:
- As slices
- Baked into apple chips
- Part of a pie
- In salads
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