Apple Picking Time: How They Help Keep the Doctor Away

woman picking applesWe often think of autumn as time for pumpkins and comfort foods, but one food that brings a healthy choice to the fall is the traditional apple. It’s time to pick some!

Whether you go to the orchard to gather a bushel, or go for the seasonal varieties that are bound to be in the produce aisle, fresh apples are a great ingredient to cook with.

Almost everyone loves apples—to suit nearly any taste, they range from sweet to tart, crisp to juicy. They have some natural sugar, but remain low in calories, and they have no fat, either. In season apples are a bargain, especially when you consider the nutritional benefits they deliver.

Here are some of the ways an apple a day really can help keep the doctor away.

Get your fill of fiber. The recommended amount of dietary fiber per day for an adult is about 20 – 28 grams per day. One medium-sized apple has 4 grams of fiber, both insoluble (the roughage that helps keep your intestines clean and moving) and soluble (which helps you maintain digestive balance by absorbing water, and may also help lower cholesterol). One particular soluble fiber found in apples, called pectin, has been linked to a number of health benefits, including calming the symptoms of an irritable bowel.

Reduce risk of illness. Along with the health benefits of fiber, other nutrients in apples have been shown to help fight a robust list of health conditions and diseases. Apples have been the subject of studies that connect regular consumption with decreased risk of diabetes, prevention of gallstones, and protection against Parkinson’s disease. Also, the potential for plaque build-up on arteries, which leads to heart disease and Alzheimer’s, may be reduced with ample amounts of the kinds of fiber and nutrition apples offer.

Offset aging and prevent disease. Cell damage, or oxidizations, is a strong factor in the aging process, and are believed to play a big role in the development of cancer and other diseases. Anti-oxidants, which are disease-fighting compounds that help repair and prevent cell damage, are abundant in apples. In fact, the varieties known as Red Delicious and Granny Smith rank in the top 15 on the USDA’s list of 100 foods with the highest concentration of antioxidants per serving. Your immune system may get an extra boost from the compound called quercetin, found in red apples.

Look and feel your best. If you’re health-conscious, we’ve already covered plenty of reasons to incorporate more apples into your daily diet, but what about if you’re trimming back on calories, fat, or sodium? Good news, there, too. A medium-sized apple contains only about 90 calories, and due to the fiber, eating an apple can help you feel fuller, longer. Blood sugar swings are tempered by the soluble fiber in apples as well, helping control both your mood and your hunger. And as a bonus, apples are a natural breath freshener!

A variety of apples are typically available in most regions year-round, but in the fall, it’s apple-picking time, so they tend to be even more plentiful, fresh and affordable. Pick up a bag or a bushel today, and try adding them to your favorite autumn meals. Oh, and eat them with the skins on, to capture their full health benefits. Not only is there a lot of fiber there, about half of the Vitamin C in an apple is found just on the underside of the skin.

One nutrient apples are not high in is protein. But you can get your apple fix and boost your protein intake at the same time with a Quest Protein Bar in the Apple Pie flavor. They contain real apples, 20 g. of protein and only 180 calories.

Here’s a beautiful apple salad recipe that can also serve as a main dish for vegetarians, due to the healthy fat addition of walnuts and the option of adding blue cheese for even a bit more protein. It’s a tasty, easy way to have an apple today!

Apple, Broccoli and Walnut Salad

Apple, Broccoli and Walnut Salad

  • 2 cups of raw broccoli florets, rinsed and trimmed
  • 4 red apples (Pink Lady, Honeycrisp or Red Delicious work great) cored and cubed
  • 1 – 2 cups of walnut pieces
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, julienned or grated
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • Blue cheese crumbles as a topping, to taste (optional)


Mix all ingredients together and top with your favorite vinaigrette, or a creamy citrus dressing. Serves 4.

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