Three cheers for apples

by Sanjeev Kapoor

When you feel like munching a crisp snack, then ensure that it is refreshing too. So reach out for a good old apple which is an excellent source of carbohydrate (energy) and antioxidants that may help protect against cancer, heart disease and strokes. The best way to have it is with the skin because you get twice as much fibre than if you peel it. You will also be snacking on more vitamins and minerals. 

An apple is a storehouse of nutrition and with that comes good health. Sometimes it is hard to remember which food is good for which part of your body. The next time you pick up an apple, examine it carefully. It is shaped a bit like a heart - and that should help you remember apples are good for your heart. As apples have fibre in the form of pectin it is a great cholesterol reducer. It is the magnesium and potassium in apples that help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it is the quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood flowing smoothly. No wonder that the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ has been coined!

Just one apple with its skin contains four to five grams of fibre - the most important nutrient in regulating your bowels without relying on harmful laxatives. Simply replace that afternoon snack of potato chips or cookies with a crisp, delicious apple. And think of the calories you will save! The average apple has about 80 calories while a serving of chips weighs in at 150 calories and you will get about 200 from just a few cookies. But that is not all apples can do. My dietician tells me that the fiber content in apples helps to regulate bowel movements and may also help prevent heart disease, aid in weight loss, and control cholesterol.

And that’s not all, it also helps in the treatment of anaemia, dysentery, kidney stones, eye disorders and headache. It also provides essential fluids to the body and promotes vigour and vitality. 

Apples are also good for diarrhoea, thanks to the pectin in it. This carbohydrate has a congealing effect in your intestines. 

Eating one after a meal can eliminate 95 percent of the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Apples are also a great source of vitamin C. One medium apple supplies about fifteen percent of a day’s worth. 

In areas of the world where fruits and vegetables make up a large part of the diet, very few people get arthritis. Compare this to modernized countries where fruits and vegetables have been replaced with fast, processed food and you will find that up to seventy percent of the population suffers from some form of arthritis. Just a coincidence? Not according to nutrition experts. They link this trend in part to boron, a trace mineral many plants, including apples, absorb from the soil. If you eat like most people, you will get about one to two milligrams of boron a day, mostly from non-citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, and nuts. Experts believe, however, you need anywhere from three to ten milligrams a day to affect your risk of arthritis. To boost your boron intake to this level, you would have to eat more than nine apples a day. This is an unreasonable amount for most people, but do not despair. Pair an apple with other boron-rich foods like a few tablespoons of peanut butter and a large handful of raisins, and you will not only have a delicious snack, you will make your joint-saving quota of boron at the same time. 

Eat more apples. Some tips:

 

  • Add raw, sliced apples to salads
  • Apples add crunch and texture to rice and other grain dishes. 
  • Apples are delicious in cakes, pies or tarts.

 

So when you next go shopping stock up on apples because they can be stored for up to six weeks in the refrigerator. If you prefer to keep them otherwise, they can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. Apples can perhaps be best enjoyed by itself. When hunger pangs strike me in between meals I munch on an apple cut into wedges. You can also cube them and add to salads. Apple is an important component of Russian Salad. 

Apple juice is just as good especially for little ones. They too enjoy it just as much. I remember both my daughters just loved it and used to make no fuss when fed with apple juice. 

Besides apples can be used in a variety of ways like an apple cake, baked stuffed apples, apple pie, apple kheer, apple rabdi, apple sheera....the list of innovative ways to use this wonder fruit can be endless. 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.