The Bible tells us that Adam ate the apple that Eve gave him, even though God had forbidden it. As punishment for thus yielding to temptation, God drove the couple from the Garden of Eden.
However, it is likely that while fleeing in a panic, Adam was a little healthier than before. Because biochemists and nutritionists confirm that apples are really really good for us in so many ways.
Let's get the basics out of the way. Apples don't have dangerous amounts of the nasty stuff that can wreak havoc with your health. Calories? Low. The sodium that makes your BP jump? Just a trace. Fat and cholesterol so harmful to your heart? None.
Antioxidant means pro-health
So what do apples have? Well, they're high in a group of compounds called polyphenols (this is where the biochemists come in). Polyphenols function as antioxidants. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that, when it happens in your body at a cellular level, can cause a chain reaction that damages or kills cells – unless an antioxidant comes to the rescue. The apple's antioxidant effect can thus lessen the effects of asthma and Alzheimer's, while being useful for weight management, bone health, lung function and gastrointestinal protection.
It's also well accepted that apples help prevent cancer, which is the classic example of chain reactions and cellular malfunction. Studies have shown that the risk of lung cancer is actually halved in people who regularly eat apples.
Then there's vitamin C, with which apples are loaded. Almost half of this sits just under the skin, so it's a good idea to eat apples whole along with their skins (which also contain a lot of polyphenols).
More importantly, the skins contain most of the apple's fiber, which – along with the polyphenols – has cardiovascular and digestive benefits. The insoluble kind of fiber adds bulk to your food intake, which helps move it smoothly and rapidly through your digestive tract. Regularity in the mornings, anyone?
Apples also have soluble fiber. One of these is pectin, which stops cholesterol build-up in blood vessels...which means a lower risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. Clinical studies have confirmed this heartening news.
So apples are great for preventing all kinds of grim maladies. On a literally lighter note, they also serve a cosmetic function. Weight-watchers should know that, according to studies, eating three apples a day can bring down your caloric intake and help trim your total tonnage.
A world of apples
Some might say that an apple a day can get rather boring. Not so! There's an amazing variety of these delectable delights now available to you, brought to India by IG International. Just look what you have to choose from:
Evelina Sweet and a little acid. Juicy and lightly crisp.
Fuji: The sweetest apples known to man. Great for storing, and available all year.
Golden Delicious: Firm with crisp white flesh, and acid content that rises in cool climates (for more sweetness) and dips in warmer zones. Bursting with all the usual health goodies too.
Granny Smith: Bright green with crisp white flesh. Great for cooking as well as eating, and packed with nutritional goodies.
Huaniu: A cylindrical or conical dark-red delight with dense crisp flesh and a unique flavour
Jonagold: This one's for the health watchers: lots of dietary fibre, potassium (which helps prevent strokes), and boron (good for bone-building and mental vitality)
Jonagored: A redder and bigger version of Jonagold, with firm juicy crisp flesh and a distinct aroma
Marnica: Large, with firm compact flesh and an astringent tingle. Great for cooking and baking.
Modi: Eco-friendly, young and casual. The first red apple with a hint of yellow and a trendy taste. Perfectly poised between sweet and acid, crunchy and juicy.
Red Prince: Chock-a-block with health benefits. Super antioxidant effects, vitamin C, and lots of fibre.
Royal Gala: Low in calories, high in fluid...great for snacking. There's cholesterol-busting pectin and bone-building boron too.
Red Delicious: Another great source of vitamins A and C, pectin and antioxidants.
New Zealand Rose: Under that unique rose-pink colour, a rich sweet flavour, crisp juicy flesh...and all the classic apple health benefits
New Zealand Queen: Crunchy and juicy and fun to eat, with a sweet rich aromatic flavour.
Have fun sampling and tasting. If Adam had been confronted with that kind of decision, we all might still be in the Garden.
Finally, health benefits aside, apples are fun and tasty. Just think applesauce, apple pie, apple fritters, apple chutney, and apples stewed or baked or even roasted and used as ingredients in all kinds of more elaborate recipes.