An Apple a Day

An Apple a DayIt turns out that there’s a lot more to that old Welsh saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” There’s growing evidence to support the notion that apples are, in fact, one of nature’s superfoods. According to Medical News Today, apples are one the top ten health foods. Apples are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavanoids, and fiber. With these and other nutrients, evidence suggests that apples may help to prevent or reduce cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

Studies have shown that a diet including apples has neurological benefits (Journal of Food Science, 2008). They can reduce cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Also, drinking apple juice can increase the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, which has been shown to increase memory in mice with Alzheimer-like symptoms.

This also suggests that apples can help to prevent dementia in humans.

A study involving 9,208 people over a 28-year period showed that those who had the highest apple content in their diet had the lowest incidence of stroke.

There’s also growing evidence that apples can help to prevent breast cancer, according to research conducted by prominent researcher Rui Hai Liu of Cornell University

In another study, published in the Journal of Food in 2014,. Apples were shown to have a positive effect on obesity in mice. Seven varieties of apples were compared, and Granny Smith’s were found to have the most beneficial effect on good bacteria in the gut, mitigating the circumstances that tended toward obesity.

The Florida State University found that older women who ate apples everyday had 23% lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and 4% more HDL (good) cholesterol, after just six months.

The key to proper consumption of apples is to eat them in their entirety at mealtimes. Snacking on them throughout the day could damage one’s teeth, due to the acid content. Also, eating the skin is recommended, rather than peeling it and throwing it away; it contains most of the apple’s nutrients.

As it happens, right now is apple harvesting season. Several varieties are in season, including Gala, Honey Crisp, Paula Red, and Soergel Special (according to http://soergels.com/apple-chart/).

Maybe you should consider planting your own apple trees. They grow between 10 and 30 feet tall, and almost as wide. They’re a worthwhile investment, as they can live almost 100 years. Apple trees bloom in the spring, and take between 100 and 200 days to reach harvest, depending upon the variety of apple.

With the myriad positive effects apples have on various major illnesses, the old adage seems more timely than ever.

The Benefits Of Squash For The Skin

The Benefits Of Squash For The SkinSquash is an amazing vegetable. It has an impressive array of nutrients, and comes in many varieties. Among those varieties are: Summer, Winter, Spaghetti, Acorn, Butternut, Hubbard, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Patty Pan, Delicata, Yellow Crookneck, and Tromboncino.

Squash can be considered a superfood. It provides a variety of health benefits to the human body, including the bones, the eyes, the colon, the prostate, the digestive system, and the immune system.

Its nutritional value lies in the vast array of vitamins, minerals, organic compounds, and other assorted nutrients that it contains. These include vitamins A, C, E, B6, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and folate.

Yellow squash can help to reduce heart disease, since it has negligible fat, and almost no cholesterol.

Summer squash is good for weight loss, being fat-free and very low in calories Read Full Article. Additionally, summer squash has a high concentration of antioxidants, which help to eliminate free radicals from the body. The high level of beta-carotene provides protection from the pollutants that cause cancer.

And squash can be of great benefit to the skin. The antioxidants it contains can guard against free radicals and cancer-causing pollutants.

The vitamin C, for example, helps to prevent signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation problems.

Converted from beta-carotene within the body, the powerful antioxidant vitamin A is essential for maintaining proper skin health and integrity.

Of course, the skin benefits of squash would be meaningless without all the benefits provided beneath the skin.

Potassium, calcium, and magnesium, 3 important electrolytes found in butternut squash, aid in the contraction of muscles, and help to stimulate nerve impulses. These minerals are of great help in alleviating cramps.

Potassium also helps to start the electrical impulses that regulate your heartbeat. In conjunction with sodium, it helps stimulate muscular contraction. Calcium also helps heart muscles to contract; on the other hand, magnesium helps muscles to relax.

Squash also helps to protect against the sun’s damaging effects, and combats dehydration.

Apples, apples everywhere

applesWith photos of apple orchards flooding Facebook this time of year, there are many healthy and tasty uses for this power fruit beyond grandma’s apple pie, which of course, is a must-do autumn tradition. Below are two of our favorites that are simple but pack a powerful punch!

On EatingWell.com in an article titled “5 Health Benefits of an Apple”, the writer states “I know that apples have surprising nutritional benefits that justify the ‘apple a day’ adage,” she continues. “Packing in quite a bit of soluble fiber (4 grams per medium apple) for a modest amount of calories (95) makes apples a filling, sweet snack. They also are a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C (providing 14% of the Daily Value).”

Here is a healthy alternative to potato chips – think baked apple chips. On Mommyhatescooking.com, this recipe calls for two ingredients: apples and cinnamon. “First it’s simple, you will likely already have the ingredients on hand,” says the blog’s creator Kristy. “Plus, what a wonderful snack or lunch item for the kids.”

The recipe is simple and all you need is some parchment paper, apples, cinnamon, and a little cookie cutter to cut the center out of the apples, the article states. “The hardest part for me was getting the apples sliced thin enough so ours were a little bit more thick than I would of liked but still delicious!”

Simple to make. Here are the directions from Mommyhatescooking.com. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and slice apples in half and as thin as possible. Next use the cookie cutter and cut the core or center out. Place each apple slice on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over all of the apples. Place them on the top rack in the over for one-hour and after an hour, remove them and turn each slice over and then bake for another hour to one hour and 15 minutes.

On Lilluna.com, a healthy apple muffin is provided – sure to delight all ages in the morning!

Ingredients for this recipe from Lilluna.com include:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats {quick or old fashioned} + 3 tbsp for topping
  • 1 1/4 cup crushed bran cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

To make these healthy alternatives to cereal in the mornings, Lilluna.com provides the following directions: Preheat the oven to 375F and line your muffin tin with paper liners. Then mix the eggs, oil, milk, honey, yogurt, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Add 1 cup of the rolled oats and the crushed bran and let soak for 10 minutes. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the wet ingredients in and mix until blended {the batter will be quite thick}. Stir in the grated apple. Scoop the batter into the muffin tin and fill up almost to the top {they rise very little}. Mix brown sugar and the remaining oats together and sprinkle on top. Finally, bake for 15-20 minutes {until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean}.

Need more ideas to inspire you to cook with apples? Visit hellawella.com and view “10 sweet & savory ways to eat your fall apples” where they feature recipes for no-butter apple crisps, creamy coconut yogurt cranberry apple slaw, roasted sweet potatoes and apples and more.

Embrace Fall’s Harvest of Healthy Food Choices

Embrace Fall’s Harvest of Healthy Food ChoicesGood bye summer heat and humidity, flip flops and bathing suits and summer nights; but hello to crisp air, apples, colorful fall leaves, sweaters, bonfires, and everything pumpkin! Take a moment to enjoy the Fall harvest of produce and tasty delights for your healthiest autumn yet.

In an article featured in U.S. News & World Report titled “10 Tips for a Healthy Fall”, it suggests thinking beyond pies and jack-o-lanterns. “All hail The Great Pumpkin! The pulp of this fall favorite is dense with vitamins A and C, and its tasty seeds, called pepitas, are rich in phytosterols, which may help to lower cholesterol,” the article states. “With all the health benefits of pumpkins, don’t they deserve to be more than a craft project that rots a few weeks later?”

Take advantage of in-season produce and vegetables such as beets, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. “Not to mention cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, kale and squash,” the article recommends. “An abundance of tasty autumn vegetables makes it easy to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet, such as diabetes prevention, hypertension control, heart health and more.”

In an article titled “Diet Detective: Fall Healthy Eating Tips” in the Ames Tribune, it also applauds the fall bounty choices that await us – especially the favorite fall apple. “Apples have been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes,” the article outlines. “Apples are loaded with flavonoids such as quercetin, which is important for keeping blood vessels healthy and reducing inflammation throughout the body.”

Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the Ames Tribune article adds. “One medium pear has 5.5 grams of fiber, 212 milligrams of potassium and is a good source of vitamin C. All these fruits and veggies are also very low in calories and loaded with nutrients.”

The US News & World Report article also recommends to “Hydrate with tons of water throughout the day, and your immune system will thank you,” it continues. “The foods you eat can also help prevent the cold. Yogurt, with all its probiotic glory, has been shown to boost the immune system, and one serving of seaweed packs more vitamin C than an orange. Another immunity booster? The aforementioned autumn favorite: pumpkins.”

In addition to your fall food favorites, take a moment to embrace the outdoors and take a hike or a go on a bike ride. Take in the ever changing season and all of its beauty!