Featured food: apples

applesApples are around all year now, but fall is real apple season.

Apples will be at their peak for flavor and crispness.  It’s a good time to sample unusual varieties of apples, if you find them at your grocery store or farmer’s market.  Flavors and texture can vary a lot between varieties, so pick the ones that you like, keeping in mind that bright red color doesn’t necessarily mean good flavor or crispness.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Apples are nutritional darlings, but is that reputation deserved?  They don’t actually have that much nutritional content.  A 3-inch diameter apple has

  • about 100 calories
  • 1/2 gram protein
  • 1/3 gram fat
  • 4.5 grams fiber
  • small amounts of vitamins and minerals, but nothing outstanding.

The main health benefit of apples is the fiber.  Apple fiber is uniquely high in pectin, a type of soluble fiber known to help lower cholesterol.  Most cholesterol-lowering diet regimens include apples, preferably every day.

There’s another potential benefit of apples — they’re filling.  As a snack, part of a meal or a dessert they can help you feel full so you resist eating more food, making it easier to stick to a lower calorie diet plan.

The main problem with apples: mushy tasteless storage apples, sold all year long.  They give apples a bad name.  Fall is the best time to enjoy fresh local apples.  At other times of year, choose carefully so you don’t end up paying for apples that are better as compost.

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