This time of year reminds me of childhood trips to Missouri to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We always passed through Wathena, in the northeast corner of Kansas where fruit stands had an abundant supply of Jonathon apples. Later on, when our three kids were little, I remember chaperoning pre-school apple picking field trips to the Converse apple orchard off of Radium Road. Just last year, on our fall trip to upstate New York, we found the apples from our friends’ backyard tree to be delicious. Nothing beats biting in to a crisp, juicy, maybe even a little bit tart, apple that is grown locally and in season.
I’m sure you have all heard the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” An article I came across recently cited research done at The Ohio State University. Their studies showed that eating an apple each day could contribute to lowering LDL cholesterol in the blood. Researchers compared eating apples with taking a capsule of polyphenol extract which are present in apples. For their study they recruited non-smoking adults aged 40-60 years old. They had no history of eating apples more than twice a month prior to participating in the study. They also had no prior cardiovascular issues and did not consume phytochemical supplements.
Participants were divided into three groups. One group ate an apple each day, the second group took a polyphenol capsule, and the third took a placebo. Results showed the apples and the polyphenol capsules decrease LDL cholesterol levels. The apples, however, gave a larger decrease in LDL cholesterol. Apples prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that leads to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
I hope I have created enough evidence about the nutritional benefits of eating apples that you will add them to your next grocery list. Apples are, what I refer to as, nutrient dense foods. A medium apple, approximately 3 inches in diameter, has just 95 calories. When eaten with the skin on, that same apple will provide 4.3 grams of fiber. So, the next time you take a bite out of an apple, think of all of the great nutrients you are adding to your diet!
Donna Krug is the District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent for K-State Research & Extension – Cottonwood District. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or [email protected] K-State Research & Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.