Healthy Bites for a Healthy Life
I’m addicted to apples. Once the leaves start to turn and the air becomes crisp (like an apple, if you will), my brain goes into overdrive with visions of apple crisps, apple soups, apple salads, apple sandwiches, apple muffins, and everything else in between. Not only are they the best on-the-go snack ever, here’s a quick rundown of why I’m so head over heels for the fruit that got Eve into some serious trouble in the Garden of Eden:
- Fiberlicious – Yes, that’s high in fiber and delicious, my friends. One apple packs 4 grams of insoluble fiber at a mere 90 calories, making it a filling and sweet snack.
- Promotes a Healthy Weight – Due to the aforementioned soluble fiber content (keeps you fuller, longer), but also pectin, a specific type of fiber found in apples, and loads of antioxidants, which keep the free radicals at bay as well as keeping blood sugar in check, which is great for the diabetics out there. Pectin has also been linked to reducing the risk of colon cancer by maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
- Anti-Inflammatory – The high antioxidant content in apples has been shown to reduce inflammation, which helps to lower cholesterol and risk of strokes. What is inflammation and why should you care? Read this.
- Endurance-Boosting – Having an apple pre-workout MAY just give you more mojo at the gym or wherever you do your intervals. Apples deliver an antioxidant called quercetin, which aids endurance by making oxygen more available to the lungs.
- Alzheimer’s Protection – The same quercetin that keeps you going like the Energizer Bunny is also linked to protecting brain cells from free radical damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Asthma Prevention – One study showed that children born to women who eat a lot of apples during pregnancy have lower rates of asthma than children whose mothers ate few apples. Interesting, indeed.
A few weekends back, when my favorite little girl and I were doing some farm-hopping in Acushnet, I stumbled upon a little family orchard that indeed, was selling apples, but (let’s be honest), were kind of pricey and non-organic. I have no problem paying top dollar if I’m guaranteed that no pesticides were used in the growing of my beloved apples, but since organic apple orchards simply do not exist in my neck of the words, a girl has to compromise, and the local orchards don’t use nearly the amount of pesticide that commercial growers use, so that helps to alleviate the “O-M-G it’s NOT organic factor.” A little. Plus, any local apples I do buy get a bath in my homemade D-I-Y fruit and veggie wash, which helps to remove the wax and pesticide residues on non-organic produce. No, it is not perfect and indeed, pesticides still linger long after the bath, but if I want a good, crisp, fresh-picked apple that practically melts in my mouth, sacrifices must be made.
After a bit of chit chat with the orchard owner, I asked if they had any reject apples that they were selling at a discount, and low and behold a 10 pound bag of misfits was pulled out. The asking price? $5. Sold. Blemishes and a little rot don’t scare me when I’m baking, plus the pesticide-factor is less of a stake in my heart since the skins will be removed. Sigh…
The first stop that these bargain apples made was straight into a fresh batch of my famous whole grain and fiberlicious apple streusel muffins, where they were gobbled up in record time. Get the recipe here.
Do you compromise when it comes to buying organic or do you stick to your guns? I’d love to hear. Please leave a comment below.