Recently, our entire family visited local apple trees. My adult kids are now tall enough to pick most of the apples without climbing the trees. One of them exclaimed, “These must be miniature apple trees. When I was a kid, the branches were higher from the ground.” Apple picking is a matter of perspective.
Autumn sights, smells and tastes include apples. Apple picking is for remembering and for making new memories. We told stories of previous apple picking days, and the kids remembered the friends that had accompanied us on our once annual pilgrimage to our favorite fruit farm.
It was fun to watch my tall son lift my daughter to his shoulders to pick a choice apple from near the top of a tree. They both tumbled to the ground in a fit of laughter, but she saved her pick. Apple picking fun is about making new memories.
A snack-size or lunchbox apple is the size of your fist. It is a low calorie snack that has approximately 80 calories. It is a fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free food. Each apple has 5 grams of fiber with 16 grams of carbohydrates of fruit sugar. People with diabetes can enjoy an apple as a carbohydrate choice and know that they are supplementing their diet with an excellent source of fiber.
Recent medical studies link apples with the prevention of certain cancers. The dietary fiber found in apples has been shown to reduce the incidence of intestinal disorders and is related to a lower risk of intestinal cancer. In Sweden, where there is a high rate of kidney cancer, researchers found that people who ate an apple a day have 60 percent less risk of developing renal cancer than non-apple eaters. Another apple-cancer connection reduces the incidence of lung cancer with a high consumption of apples.
In fact, a recent study from the American Institute for Cancer Research and The World Cancer Research Fund finds that a diet rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables coupled with moderate active movement can reduce as many as 30 to 40 percent of all cancer cases throughout the world.
Apples contain soluble and insoluble fiber. The skin is considered insoluble. It is difficult to digest and the roughage is helpful to the movement of the intestinal track. Soluble fiber has cholesterol-lowering effects.
This healthful evidence lends credence to that old familiar saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Perhaps apples are a major key to improved health and lower health care costs.
There is something comforting just knowing that a juicy sphere of apple goodness is not only a treat to the taste buds but a valuable part of a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to visit a fruit farm to pick apples, but it is a lot of fun and good exercise. Make memories.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected]