AHHHH, the good old days when food was basic and nutrition was simple — an apple a day to keep the doctor away, chicken soup to fend off a bug and plenty of vitamin C when a cold was in sight — simple food tricks to keep us happy and healthy.
Now new findings have revealed that eating an apple regularly is not enough when it comes to promoting good health.
Rather it is about eating the skin of the apple when it comes to gaining all the health benefits apples have to offer.
Apples are a nutrient rich, low calorie food.
With just 60-80 calories per serve, 3g of fibre and plenty of nutrients including potassium and vitamin C, apples are a low GI, high fibre food that makes a perfect snack on the run.
While the positive nutritional profile of apples has been known for thousands of years, more recently researchers have become increasingly aware of the nutrient powerhouse that is apple skin.
While we can be tempted to skip the skins of our favourite fruits and vegies it is becoming more apparent that we are much better to actually eat the whole fruit, skin and all.
Apple skin contains high amounts of polyphenols, in fact 2 ½ times of amount of these powerful molecules than the flesh of the apple.
Polyphenols are a group of natural, plant based molecules known for a myriad of health benefits including powerful weight control and anti-cancer benefits.
Specifically new research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has reviewed 13 scientific studies investigating the regular intake of apples and found that the high polyphenol content of apples appears to be linked to preventing weight gain via a range of mechanisms including reducing the absorption of fat and carbohydrate in the body, helping fat to be metabolised and to help create a healthy gut that is required for weight control.
In addition to these benefits, it appears that a diet high in polyphenols through the regular consumption of apples is linked to a reduced risk of developing some types of cancer and specifically the slowing of breast cancer cell growth in laboratory studies.
When it comes to bumping up our fruit consumption, one of the most common questions nutritionists are asked is what about the sugar content?
Apples, like all varieties of fruit contain the naturally occurring fruit fructose — an apple for example contains 12-14g of naturally occurring sugars.
While the regular consumption of fruit is not linked to weight gain, one way to help regulate the amount of fruit sugars consumed at any one time is to always eat the whole fruit rather than juiced or other processed varieties (and in the case of apples skin and all), but also enjoy your apples with some protein rich foods.
A few apple slices with cheese; spread with 100 per cent nut spread or blitzed into a morning smoothie with Greek yoghurt and milk are easy ways to enjoy the health benefits of apples and their skin in a healthy, balance diet.