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A healthy diet should contain an array of nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables and fruits. And that’s why the apple is a wonder fruit – on its own, one apple is packed full of vital nutrients which help you achieve maximum health. Like the old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Ever wondered why that saying came to be? A brief, juicy history Apple is the common name for certain related trees of the rose family and for the pome fruit of the trees. The apple tree, a deciduous plant, grows mainly in the temperate areas of the world (in Nigeria they are mostly cultivated in the Mambilla plateau). The tree originated in Western Asia. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including in cooking, fresh eating, and cider production. The physical characteristics of the fruit are subject to considerable variation. The skin colour may range from green to yellow to a deep, blackish red. Shapes, also, are diverse and include oblate and oblong fruits and fruits of a size hardly larger than a cherry or as big as a medium-sized grapefruit. Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many foods (especially desserts) and drinks. Some of the most common types of apples include the sweet and tangy Granny Smith or Pippin apples, which also make excellent baking apples. If you’re looking for a sweeter bite, look to Red Delicious—noticeable because of their bright red skin, or Golden delicious with a soft yellow skin. Fuji and Pink Lady apples have a milder taste but just as many health benefits One apple has just 95 calories, making it the perfect low calorie snack. With zero fat & cholesterol, and very little sodium you can see why an apple a day has become so popular. Many crucial vitamins can be found in relatively large numbers in just one apples, including vitamins C, K and B6. These vitamins are important for normal human functioning that promotes good health, which we know has a positive effect on fat burning. Potassium is yet another nutrient that increases the health benefits of apples, with 195 mg found inside a medium apple Health benefits of the apple There are many antioxidants in apples that block absorption of harmful free radicals that can age you prematurely and cause disease. The polyphenols responsible for the antioxidant benefits of apples also help reduce artery clogging than can lead to heart health problems. These same anti-inflammatory properties are why apples help reduce asthma-related swelling. Apples have a high fiber content which helps to reduce bad cholesterol. By literally eating “an apple a day,” you can reduce the risk of many cardiovascular problems that include heart disease and stroke. New research indicates that apples have an amazing ability to fight several types of cancer. They are help with blood sugar regulation – slowing down of carbohydrate digestion, reduction of glucose absorption, and stimulation of the pancreas to put out more insulin. Ways to enjoy your apple A few quick serving ideas: 1. Add diced apples to fruit or green salads. 2. Braise a chopped apple with cabbage. 3. Looking for an alternative to sweet desserts? Sliced apples (either alone or with other fruits) make a fine and healthy dessert. Low Calorie Apple Recipes Easy Apple Salad (199 calories per serving, recipe makes 1 serving) Combine 2 cups chopped apples (2 or more varieties) with 10 whole almonds, chopped. Toss and enjoy. Apples & Cabbage (148 calories per serving, recipe makes 2 servings) Thinly slice one head of cabbage, one apple, and ½ cup sliced onion. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to stockpot over medium heat, sauté apples and onions for 4 minutes, or until they soften. Add in cabbage, 1 bay leaf, 1 chopped garlic clove, and ½ cup water to pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes or until cabbage is soft. Enjoy your apples, every day.

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This article was first published on 2nd August 2012

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