It’s that time of year again and you’re ready to cozy up with some Pumpkin-097305-7Spice Everything.  To be honest – October, November, and December are our favorite months of the year; the beautiful trees here in New England almost make us forget how chilly it’s getting!

In honor of this great season, Nature’s Batch will feature a new Fall flavor each week.  Check out some of our favorite fall must-haves this year!

Week 2: Apple

Nutritious and Delicious

There are so many reasons to love this tasty fruit.  Apples come with their own adorable natural carrying case and make a perfect portable snack when you are on the go.  Whether you’re looking for juicy or sweet or tart or crunchy, there is an apple out there to satisfy your snack craving.

Apples offer numerous health benefits; they are filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which are compounds that fight diseases by preventing and repairing oxidation damage in healthy cells during normal cell activity and boosting the immune system.  Apples also contain antiviral properties that will help you fight bacterial, parasitic, and viral infections.  Rich in water soluble B vitamins, (Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, and B9), eating an apple provides numerous health benefits including improving healing time, boosting metabolism and aiding digestion, reducing headaches, decreasing mood swings and depression, and even increasing libido.

There is definitely merit to the old saying “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.”  Let’s explore some other benefits of this fruit that you may not have known about:

Weight Loss

A medium-sized apple contains 4.4 grams of dietary fiber with just 95 total calories.  Fiber helps to keep your body fuller longer while aiding in proper bowel function and digestion.  Keeping an apple on hand as a filling snack between meals will help to prevent overeating and curb hunger with fewer calories.

Low Cholesterol

Soluble fiber is recommended to maintain low cholesterol levels.  This fiber, which is abundant in apples, binds with fat in your guts to lower your cholesterol similar to the way that oats do.  Furthermore, polyphenols – antioxidant compounds in apples and pure apple juice – can help to prevent bad cholesterol from building up and turning into plaque in your arteries while reducing any inflammation in the arteries that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Increased Endurance

Eating an apple before a workout can help to improve your endurance, particularly 47469009083_largewhen doing cardiovascular exercise.  When consumed, apples release an antioxidant called Quercetin, which is a popular ingredient in fitness supplements because it helps to increase endurance and improve athletic performance by making oxygen more available to your lungs.  An average-sized apple (about 150 grams) can contain around 10 mg of Quercetin.  More than half of this rich flavonoid is present in the pigmented skin of the apple alone, so make sure that you are eating the apple skin.

Prevent Heart Disease

Research shows that eating these heart-shaped fruits may actually help to prevent metabolic syndrome.  The symptoms of Metabolic syndrome are shown to lead to heart disease as well as diabetes.  By reducing bad cholesterol and plaque in the arteries, apple consumption helps to decrease the risk of heart attack and high blood pressure.  Research has also shown that consuming more apples over time is also associated with a decreased risk of thrombotic stroke.

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Prevent Other Diseases

Apples are also beneficial in the prevention of several types of cancer.  According to several studies published by Cornell’s Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, apple extracts have been shown to reduce the size of mammary tumors and ward off breast cancer.  The flavonoids in the fruit contain compounds called triterpenoids that work to keep cancer cells colon, pancreas, and liver from growing.

51el8rkyxlEating whole fruit – particularly apples, blueberries, and grapes – has been linked to a lower risk of type two diabetes and a decrease in blood glucose and cholesterol due to the anti-inflammatory properties of apples.  Diabetics also exhibit a decreased risk of infections when consuming whole apples.

A study performed on mice has shown that apples may even help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the effects of aging on the brain.  Pure apple juice also improves focus and cognitive function in the brain.

Clean Teeth

An apple a day can help to clean and brighten those pearly whites.  Apples are slightly acidic, causing them to act as a mild astringent for your teeth when chewed.  Over time, eating this fruit (with the skin on) can help to release yucky stains on your teeth and brighten them.

apple-pie-front_1024x1024_83242dc9-0b39-430c-90a4-1dde7ad099fc_largeDisclaimer: Make sure to mention to your children that AN APPLE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR BRUSHING YOUR TEETH!  Like a typical 4-year-old, the first thing my son asked me was whether he could stop brushing his teeth if he ate all of his fruit.  Apples are good for you, but they still contain sugar and acid that will damage your teeth if you don’t brush.  After eating an apple, remember to take out your handy toothbrush and toothpaste to brush away any plaque that was loosened from by the apple.