The Apple Alternative
Do you rely on coffee and soda to maintain energy during the day but end up dragging your feet around campus anyway? Chances are you overlooked one natural energy source from the rose family.
Depending on caffeine or soda for energy is self-defeating and unhealthy. While the apple may not be socially accepted as an energy source, its list of nutritional benefits might change your mind.
“Apples are clearly a better choice for energy over coffee or soda,” Dean of the College of Allied Health Charles Sands said. “Soda likely has both caffeine and sugar but not in contents that are very beneficial for us. Apples are high in water content, pectin and over 200 nutrients and vitamins. In addition, apples have roughly 10 percent natural fruit sugar that is broken down slowly over time which helps with blood sugar regulation.”
An apple is free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. The acids inside apples neutralize the compounds responsible for gout and indigestion. It can also help prevent atherosclerosis by lowering bad cholesterol.
This simple fruit has made breakthroughs in asthma, lung cancer diabetes research and can even benefit your dental health. Apples contain anti-inflammatory properties that foster cardiac health and may also help prevent macular degeneration and neurodegenerative problems like Alzheimer’s disease.
“Technically, energy used by our bodies is found in calories and coffee (without cream and sugar) has no calories, so therefore cannot be a source of energy,” David Pearson, professor of kinesiology, said. “Caffeine is a stimulant but it really provides no energy. Apples contain natural sugars and 3-4 grams of fiber, making them a healthier choice over coffee or soda.”
With the wonderful benefits apples give, why not eat more apples?
When shopping for apples, check for firmness and rich color. Apple season begins at the end of summer and lasts until early winter. Red and Golden Delicious are the sweetest, Fuji are slightly tart and Pippin and Granny Smith are the most tart but remain firm when cooked.
Apples can be stored for three to four months and refrigeration helps to keep nutrients intact but they do require some moisture. Be careful not to purchase bruised apples or drop them, for they release ethylene gas at a higher rate and will spoil undamaged apples if kept together. Before eating, scrub them under running water to avoid consuming pesticides.
Want to avoid gaining the freshman 15? Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found in 2007 that those who ate a medium-sized apple before a meal consumed 187 fewer calories than those who did not.
In general, eating several fresh fruits daily is recommended by health professionals. If apples are truly better all around, save your extra coffee and soda money for tuition.