Health and Wellness, Nutritionally Speaking

Nutritionally Speaking: 15 Reasons to Eat An Apple-a-Day Instead

As part of my store’s celebration this year of Organic Harvest Month, I have had the opportunity to offer samples of our ”no-bake apple cookies” to our shoppers. This is simply sliced (cored) apples – Organic of course – with a schmear of sunflower butter, topped with dried cranberries, coconut flakes, walnuts, dark (low sugar) chocolate chips and cinnamon. This is a tasty and simple treat that is enjoyed by all ages, a perfect after school treat for sure! September is the beginning of apple harvest season, and each week I am seeing more locally (NW) harvested new crop apples.
We all eat and crave sweets for different reasons. Sometimes sweet treats act as ”comfort food” and make us feel better. Often we grab a sweet snack for quick energy. I suggest we ask ourselves why we are indulging. At the store, ask yourself, ”Do I really need/want this sugary treat?” Will this make me feel better? Can I make a better choice?
Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. researcher and author of numerous books on the topic of sugar use and abuse and its effects on health has researched and compiled a scary list (144 ways) of how the sugar we eat in our diets impacts our health.
She promotes simple nutrient dense snacks that can satisfy your sweet tooth. A snack she suggests, and a favorite of mine, are apples. We have many tasty varieties growing here in the Northwest, available at your grocer, Farmers’ market or farm stand. Since apples can contain residues of pesticides, eat only organically grown or fruit from a grower that does not spray chemical pesticides and herbicides. The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) compiles an annual list of the ”Dirty Dozen,” produce that has the most herbicide and pesticide residues, and each year conventionally grown apples and strawberries compete for the top, most toxic spot on the list. Along with Vitamin C and healthy fiber, apples are a great source of disease fighting nutrients that are primarily found in the skin.
The two types of fiber in apples are helpful in promoting cardiovascular health. The insoluble fiber, which works like bran, helps remove the LDL cholesterol from our bodies. The apples soluble fiber, pectin reduces the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver. The cholesterol lowering and antioxidant effects last 24 hours according to George Mateljan author of ”The World’s Healthiest Foods.” According to Mateljan, apple juice is not as beneficial to our health. The juice does not have the important fiber, and contains a greatly reduced amount of antioxidants and other nutrients. Apples also contain Malic acid, which supports magnesium absorption, so your daily apple(s) may reduce those cravings for chocolate!
With an abundance of apples why bother with the sweet candies and sugary treats that according to Dr. Appleton (from her list of 144) show harm. In ways such as:
1. Sugar can suppress the immune system;
2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body;
3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and crankiness in children;
4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides;
5. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases);
6. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function, the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you lose;
7. Sugar reduces high-density lipoproteins
(AKA good cholesterol)
8. Sugar leads to chromium deficiency;
9. Sugar leads to cancer of the ovaries;
10. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose;
11. Sugar causes copper deficiency;
12. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium;
13. Sugar may make your eyes more vulnerable to age-related macular degeneration;
14. Sugar raises the level of neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine;
15. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia, insulin resistance and Diabetes.

Looking for a way to enjoy your apples in a salad? The following is a favorite from the Natural Grocers website: Apple Coleslaw
INGREDIENTS
2 cup(s) green cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
1 cup(s) red cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
1/2 cup(s) carrot, shredded
2 whole(s) apples, cored and shredded (with skins on)
1 whole(s) red onion, sliced thin
1 whole(s) yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 cup(s) Primal Kitchen Mayo (made) with Avocado oil
5 tbsp(s) olive oil
2 tbsp(s) apple cider vinegar
1 tsp(s) honey
1 tbsp(s) poppy seeds
to-taste Sea Salt
DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, apples, onion and pepper.
In another bowl, whisk the mayo, olive oil, vinegar, honey, and poppy seeds. Season with a little salt.
Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and stir well. Taste it to see if it has the flavor you desire. Add extra salt, vinegar, mayo or olive oil to your liking.
Refrigerate for at least one hour and serve cold. Enjoy!
At Natural Grocers in Eugene, where I am the store’s Nutritional Health Coach, we offer free classes that include plenty of information about healthy eating choices, and free one-on-one health coaching sessions (call 541-345-3300). Please ”like” our Natural Grocers-Eugene Facebook page. Find our store’s schedule of free classes at: https://www.naturalgrocers.com/store-location/eugene/.