An apple a day... you know how it goes! I remember wondering about it as a kid, but I don't think it ever occurred to me to question the validity of it or where the saying came from until I got a little older. Like now! So, I did some digging and found that this favorite proverb may have originated in Wales. According to the Phrases.org website, the February 1866 edition of a magazine called Notes and Queries
contains this quote of a Pembrokeshire proverb: "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread." You can see how that translated into the popular modern version: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
Ever wonder why? I can't say what they were thinking back in 1866, but I can share with you some of the nutritional benefits of eating apples that we know about today.
- Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, but mostly the soluble kind - good news for keeping cholesterol levels healthy, keeping you "regular" and filling you up faster.
- They've got those awesome antioxidants - perfect for your immune system and your heart.
- Like many other fruits, they're low in calories, fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free.
- They deliver quercetin, a potent antioxidant, that belongs to a class of water-soluble plant pigments called flavonoids.
- They are packed with pectin, a soluble fiber that helps keep cholesterol levels healthy as well as promoting the growth of the good bugs (the beneficial bacteria) in our digestive tract.
- When you eat a whole medium-sized apple, you are getting about 80 calories and 4 grams of fiber.
I love apples just as they are, but some people peel them before eating or baking. That's okay but if you can eat the whole apple, you get the fiber and the antioxidants that lie just beneath the skin…not to mention more flavor and crunch. Small children, people with a compromised digestive system and those with few teeth may do best with peeled apples, though.
Apples can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. Here are some (mostly) simple, delicious ideas:
- Add chopped apples to tuna or chicken salad. Here's a recipe for chicken salad with yogurt and apples.
- Add sliced apples to a leafy green salad, like this one for Manchego, Apple and Almond Salad.
- Enjoy apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and cardamom.
- Dip apple slices in nut butter such as toasted almond butter, peanut butter or cashew nut butter.
- Have sautéed apples as a side dish to go with grilled or baked chicken, fish, pork or tempeh. Here's a recipe for roasted tofu with sautéed apples.
- Make a tofu stir fry with coarsely chopped onions, celery, mushrooms and green apples. Great over rice or quinoa.
- Add fresh or dried apples to a bowl full of granola for breakfast (or a snack).
- Add chopped apples to just about any hot or cold cereal.
- Snack on apples and walnuts!
- Make butternut squash soup and garnish with thinly sliced apples.
- Make Waldorf salad with chopped apples, celery, walnuts, raisins and your favorite mayonnaise. Garnish with a sprinkling of grated cheddar.
- Add chopped apples to plain or flavored yogurt. Great topped with a few roasted pecans.
- Bake apples, cut in half and serve with granola and/or frozen yogurt or ice cream for dessert. Try stuffing them with cranberries and almonds in this tasty recipe for baked apples.
- Can't think of what sort of side dish to bring to the Thanksgiving dinner? Here's a recipe for roasted parsnips and apples.
- Make grilled cheese and sliced apple sandwiches, then call me up for lunch! Here's a good idea for an apple and tempeh sandwich.
- I simply cannot leave you without a recipe for apple pie! This one gets high marks.
I have to say that my dearest "Fuji" is the apple of my eye. What about you? "Who" is your favorite apple?