Apples are considered as one of the healthiest foods to eat. Packed with disease-fighting nutrients, antioxidants and much more, this delicious fruit is also low in calories and has no fat or cholesterol.
It is said that there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide.
In an exclusive interview with Salome Phelamei of Zee Media Corp, Naini Setalvad, Nutrionist, Obesity and Lifestyle Disease Consultant, talks about the various health benefits of apples and how eating an apple a day could keep the doctor away.
Naini Setalvad is a columnist, educator and a public speaker in the field of healthy diets and food habits. After journeying from 160 kilos to 60 kilos, Naini steers people to love good food. Currently she is also on the board of Washington Apples, which is part of the SCS Group.
What are the health benefits and nutritional facts of apples?
Being rich in fibre, this fleshy fruit has a dual effect. Its cholesterol lowering properties make it a valuable fruit for heart patients. Owing to its iron content, apples are very beneficial in the treatment of anaemia. By increasing the consumption of apples, you can increase hemoglobin levels in blood.
Do all apple varieties have equal health properties? How to choose the best ones and eat them the right way?
All apples have equal health benefits.
There are loads of varieties available like Red delicious, Golden delicious, Granny Smith, etc. Ensure the apples are shiny, should be firm and free of any spots, marks on them and no bruises. You can bite into it, cut it into pieces, toss it in salads, or stew or bake them.
Is excessive consumption of apples bad for health? How many apples should a person eat per day?
1-2 apples per day, anything in excess is bad. One needs to also add other fruits.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, what's your take on this?
Yes, of course, it keeps the doctor away. Because of its low glycemic index (GI) it is safe for diabetics. Apple is one of the fruits which is “allowed” when one’s sugar levels are awry. This is due to the pectin available in apples. Just remember to have at least 1 to 2 hour gap between eating the apple and any other food.
Apples’ pectin content keeps you full for a longer period of time, so helps in weight loss, prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Apple juice helps calm the pain caused by gall stones.
Apple juice also helps reduce wheezing in children suffering from asthma.
Pregnant women who consume apples regularly are known to have lower chances of giving birth to asthmatic children.
How is apple associated with cancer?
Apples are excellent for a variety of cancers. Be it breast cancer or lung cancer, the flavanoids in apples are great for preventing both. The pectin in apples helps reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, and maintains a healthy digestive tract. The skin of the apples is excellent for preventing liver cancer.
Are there any health conditions for which one needs to avoid apples?
In case of excessive constipation, one should not exceed eating more than one apple a day.
How safe are the pesticides on the apple peel?
Wash it thoroughly, and have it. The pesticides that are normally used are accepted by the FDA and cultivators are trying to work as close to nature as possible and using lesser and safer pesticides.
Nowadays, apple growers have cut the use of insecticides by using more eco- friendly methods.