Apples are well established as one of the best fruits for supporting
overall health. They are depicted as a divine food and the source of immortality in Norse Mythology.
Although apples may not be a source of immortality, there are important nutrients in apples that can support your child’s immune system and keep them healthy. In addition, these nutrients can lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar.
Apples are a great source of Vitamin C – an essential vitamin with many uses in the body, including supporting the immune system to fight infections and colds, keeping all tissues and cells healthy, regulating hormones, helping the absorption of iron and protection from the effects of stress and much more. Apples are high in polyphenols, which works with the antioxidant process and are an important part of any diet.
Apples also contain lots of minerals such as potassium. Minerals can help to maintain normal cell function and keep the bones strong.
Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a dietary fibre that helps to prevent dietary diseases, encourage healthy bowel movement and feeds the micro biota (gut flora), helping to keep your child’s tummy happy. The fibre in apples helps control cholesterol levels, so can protect the future cardiovascular health of you children. This fibre is deeply cleansing to the digestive system, and can also help settle a tummy bug!
Average fibre intakes for children and adults in the West are less than half of the recommended levels. In fact, studies show that we eat only 10% of what we used to eat as hunter-gatherers, so it is very important to have a source of fibre.
Studies show that apples contain over 4000 different flavonoids, which can improve cognitive function and prevent diseases in the long run.
The easiest way to enjoy apples is to eat the fruit whole. Choosing organic means you can avoid removing the skin as this contains a significant amount of the healthy fibre and minerals. If the apple is not organic, be sure to wash it thoroughly with a detergent specially formulated for washing fruits and vegetables (or I sometimes use Ecover washing up liquid). The sharper tasting varieties are often more healthy as they contain higher levels of pectin fibre and polyphenols and lower levels of sugar. It is good to buy the variety that is local and in season as this supports local trade and the environment.
Add chopped apple and cinnamon to porridge or cereal, salads, natural yoghurt.
Lemon juice stops the apple from going brown, which looks nicer but the browning part of the apple is actually good for you.
Juice – another delicious way to harvest the benefits. If possible, juice the apples yourself or have it in a smoothie. Avoid clear, processed apple juice as this has most of the goodness removed and is very high in sugar. Excessive juicing is not advised though, as processed fruits contain a lot of sugar and without the fibre this can cause peaks in blood sugar which can lead to health issues later in life.