Reap the benefits of apples

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and there are good reasons that adage still rings true.

During this National Apple Month, here are some apple facts:

  • Apples contain phytochemicals. Like vitamins, minerals and fiber, phytochemicals may promote good health and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • To make sure you get the benefit of the natural fiber in apples and other fruits, the NIH says you should eat most of them whole rather than drinking juice.
  • Apples can contain more antioxidants, which can help to prevent cancer, than a large dose of vitamin C.
  • Apples contain no sodium, no fat and no cholesterol.
  • Apples have a substance called pectin, a soluble fiber that helps with digestion.
  • Your daily apple contains the same amount of dietary fiber as a bowl of bran cereal.
  • Apples contain complex carbohydrates, making them a healthier choice than highly processed foods or foods high in sugar.
  • Research indicates eating apples and drinking apple juice can be beneficial in improving brain health and reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings were released by the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

The University of Illinois Agricultural Extension Service notes these apple facts:

  • There are 2,500 apple varieties grown in the United States and 7,500 varieties grown worldwide.
  • Apples grow in all the states, but 36 raise them commercially. The United States is second only to China in apple production.
  • There are 8,000 apple growers with orchards covering more than 430,000 acres in the United States.
  •  Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit. The average tree yields 20 bushels per year.
  • The average American eats 65 apples a year.