Written by Elizabeth Kaoh, M.A., CSUN Dietetic Intern
For some of us fall means changing leaves and bringing out the warm boots. For others, the abundance of seasonal fruits like apples at farmer’s markets highlights the same thing, fall has arrived! Thanks to summer’s warm and sunny weather we can expect the sweetest apple crops in the markets. There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in just the United States alone and over 7,500 varieties grown around the world.
The old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was first recorded in the 1860’s however history from the ancient Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and traditional Ayurvedic medicine in southern Asia documented healthful properties of the apple from as far back as 1,500 years ago. In our modern day, countless clinical studies have tested the health benefits of apples and have found a number of potential benefits regular consumption of apples can have ranging from reduced cholesterol to improved brain function!
Here are some reasons to incorporate apples into your fall meals:
- Apples are a rich source of phytochemicals. Studies indicate diets rich in phytochemicals may play a key role in reducing risk of chronic disease such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes
- Apples are a rich sources of antioxidants. In laboratory, apples have been found to have strong antioxidant activity showing decrease in cancer cell growth and oxidation of cells. One of the most abundant antioxidants in apples, quercetin, showed to help improve neurological function and decrease cellular death of neurons
- Apples are a great source of fiber. Just one medium apple 3 inches in diameter offers about 4.4 grams, 17%, of one’s daily recommended fiber intake. Fiber is a great way to reduce cholesterol and increase satiety.
When looking for apples in the market, make sure to do the touch, smell, and sight test. Gently push on the middle of the fruit to make sure that it does not collapse or soften under your finger. This will ensure you get a fresh, crisp texture with every bite you take. A fresh apple should also have a slight sweet aroma to it. Lastly, when looking at apples make sure that there are no bruises or signs of decay on the fruit.
Here’s a tasty apple recipe developed by the Marilyn Magaram Center for you to try!
Apple Mango Salad with Walnuts
1 large mango, peeled and cubed
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
3/4 c. walnuts
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/ 4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
In a medium bowl, toss together the mangos, apples, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
Resources on CSUN Campus
Find fresh, local apples at the CSUN Farmer’s Market held every Tuesday from 10 am to 2 pm on East University Drive just west of the University Student Union. This is a great opportunity to stock up on apples for healthy snacking during the week! Always remember to ask farmers regarding the taste and sweetness of the different apple varieties. They will usually have samples for you to try the many different varieties they have on harvest that day.
Boyer, J., & Liu, R. H. (2004). Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutrition journal, 3(1), 5.