Going bananas for apples

Photo credit: Gallery 30 in Gettysburg

Photo credit: Gallery 30 in Gettysburg

By Meredith Cox, Staff Writer

The leaves are falling, the air is changing and the apples are ripening. Fall is here and it is time to enjoy one of the best goodies this short season has to offer. Apples are one of the most versatile and delicious fruits out there. Here are some ways to get the most benefits from them and have fun while doing so.

Before you can eat apples, someone, somewhere has to pick them. Sound like fun? Apple picking is a great way to unwind, relax and spend time with family and friends. Gettysburg is located just 15 minutes from Biglerville, which is the heart of apple country. It is home to the National Apple Museum and hosts the annual Apple Festival. The festival is running this weekend, on October 1st and 2nd as well as October 8th and 9th, with doors opening at 8:00AM. It has food, games, crafts, shops and entertainment.

If you are looking for more convenient benefits of apples without the hard work of harvesting, try having one for a snack.  Apples make a great grab-and-go snack, as they are portable and versatile. You can grab an apple, throw it in your bag and enjoy it later. You can pair it with a lot of other healthy foods, too. Try slathering some natural peanut butter on a few wedges or dipping some in Greek yogurt. If you are looking for something a little sweeter, try baking apples in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, sprinkling them with cinnamon and serving with quality vanilla ice cream!

Looking more at the metabolic effects of apples, we see that this small fruit packs loads of antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fibers. The antioxidants come in the form of polyphenols, which work in our cells to reduce oxidative damage from other metabolic processes. Apples also keep our supply of “good” gut bacteria high, and “bad” gut bacteria low, aiding in digestion. All of these important benefits contribute to other amazing health improvements, such as lowering bad cholesterol, reducing your risk of developing diabetes and lowering the likelihood of obesity.

The nearly five grams of fiber in one large apple helps keep us feeling full and satiated throughout the day, and as a result, we snack less. This can be beneficial for someone looking to cut back on excess calories, or someone who gets the 3PM munchies. Just be sure you are eating the whole apple, skin included, as this is where a large majority of the good vitamins and fiber are concentrated.

So the next time you are looking for a quick and guilt-free snack, grab an apple and chow down. Do not worry about finding a variety you like, as there are over 7,500 kinds of apples grown worldwide!






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