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Posts Tagged ‘keeps the doctor away’

Heard the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Curious about where it came from? The credit goes to Wales (though it’s known as an English adage). The original proverb, printed in 1866, goes: “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” With winter here and it being apple season, I thought about, “What does the apple nutritionally give us and our kids?” So I did some research for you (and for me) about nutritional facts, fun facts and the history of the apple.  

10 Core Facts about Apples
Apples are a very good fruit for building strong and healthy bodies. A medium-sized apple is:

  1. Fat-free: May help reduce the risk of some types of cancers
  2. Saturated-fat free
  3. Sodium-free: May help reduce the risk of high blood pressure
  4. Contains natural sugars called fructose
  5. Has only 80 calories: Helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  6. Cholesterol-free: Helps keep your heart healthy and may help protect against cardiovascular disease.
  7. Contains no artificial colors or flavors
  8. An excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C: Helps reduce blood cholesterol, and aids digestion. They also contain potassium, antioxidants, iron, calcium and Vitamin A. One apple has five grams of fiber.
  9. A handy, satisfying snack: You can take one with you anywhere.
  10. An easy way to get your recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily!
  11. A medium apple is about 80 calories.

Did you know?…Apple Facts:

  • To make a traditional 9-inch apple pie, you’ll need 2 pounds of apples.
  • Worldwide, a remarkable 7,500 varieties of apples are grown.
  • In the United States, a hearty 2,500 varieties can be found; though only 100 are grown for commercial purposes. The only apple native to North America is the Crabapple.
  • Out of the 100 apple varieties grown, 15 comprise 90% of total production: Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuji lead the way.
  • An average of 65 apples per person are consumed in America each year. 


  • Apple trees can grow up to 40 feet high; though many orchards have dwarf trees for easier picking.
  • The first apple nursery opened in 1730; the location was Flushing, New York.
  • A peck of apples is 1/4 a bushel and weighs approximately 10.5 pounds.
  • A bushel weighs 42 pounds.
  • A bushel of apples can produce 20-24 quarts of applesauce.
  • At room temperature, an apple will ripen 6-10 times faster than in the refrigerator.
  • The state fruit of New York is the apple
  • The state flower of Michigan is the apple blossom
  • Apples can be as small as a cherry or as large as a grapefruit
  • Apple trees don’t grow from seeds — they are grafted or budded
  • Apple trees can live to be 100 years old
  • Most apples have only five seeds, but some may have as many as 10 and others may have no seeds at all
  • Sixty-one percent of apples are eaten fresh and 39 percent are processed into juice and sauce
  • Apples come in all shades of reds, greens, and yellows.
  • The pilgrims planted the first United States apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • The science of apple growing is called pomology.
  • 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air. That is why they float.
  • The largest apple picked weighed three pounds.

Apple History
Originating somewhere between the Caspian and Black Seas, apples today are grown all over the world — from China to Italy to the United States. As long as 3,000 years ago, apples were playing an important part in people’s lives.

Folklore has it that an ancient Greek who wanted to propose to a woman would only have to toss her an apple. If she caught it, he knew she had accepted his offer. And newlyweds in the 7th century B.C. shared an apple as a symbol of a fruitful union.

European settlers to America brought with them their favorite fruits, which were much favored over the native crab apple. The colonists used apples to eat and also to make into apple cider, apple vinegar and hard cider. As the early colonists explored the frontier and moved from the eastern United States to the west, so did the apple. Now the apple is grown commercially in 36 states.

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AppleWe have all grown up hearing “An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor Away!”  Now, as a mom, I am focused on providing the right nutrition for my daughter so she can grow up strong and healthy.  I began by asking myself ‘What are the rules that we should be nutritionally living by?’  I know that healthy habits should start early, beginning with exercise, portion control and choosing the ‘right’ foods – these habits will set the stage for the rest of her life.  Children learn by observing their role models – mostly family – so I did some research to educate myself about the necessary nutrients needed to make our entire family healthy.  Here is a list I’ve complied – it is just what the doctor ordered!

Calcium:
Calcium is crucial for bone mass development, but a third of 4 to 8 year old children don’t get enough.  A bonus is that many high calcium foods are also high in Vitamin D – helpful for preventing Type 1 diabetes. Foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D include milk, cheese, yogurt (excellent but watch the sugar), fortified cereals, soy products and some juices.

Iron:
Iron is essential – it helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells throughout the body, directly affecting brain development.  Studies show that up to 20 percent of kids are not getting enough Iron.  If this deficiency is left unchecked it can lead to learning and behavioral problems. Some of the best sources of Iron are lean meats including shrimp, beef, and chicken. If your child is a vegetarian or doesn’t care for the taste of meat try beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Although Iron from plant sources is not absorbed easily by the body, Vitamin C based foods can increase the absorption level.  Foods high in both Iron and Vitamin C are broccoli, Swiss chard, and other dark green leafy vegetables.

preschool lunchVitamin E:
What is important about Vitamin E? It is an antioxidant that protects our cells from damage. It is estimated that 80 percent of children under the age of 8, and more than half of preschoolers, are lacking sufficient amounts of the vitamin. To my surprise, eating fat free foods, since they generally lack essential oils, is part of the problem. Make sure your child’s diet includes small amounts of nuts (if no allergies,) avocado, tomato sauce, wheat germ or spinach.  Fortified cereals may have Vitamin E but all-natural cereals do not. 

Fiber:
This seems to be a buzzword for adults, but it keeps children regular, fills them up and may help protect them from other illnesses later in life. An easy way to establish a goal for grams of daily fiber is to add the number 5 to your child’s age.  It’s ideal to have at least one high-fiber food at every meal. Cereal can be a great way for your child to obtain fiber – just make sure it has 5 grams or more per serving. Other great sources of fiber are fruits, beans, lentils, chickpeas, whole-grain breads, oatmeal, nuts, sweet potatoes, popcorn and green beans. My daughter LOVES hummus and just 2 tablespoons has as much fiber as a half cup of brown rice.

Bananas…and last but not least, Potassium:
Potassium is the main contributor to maintaining healthy muscles that contract and maintaining beneficial fluid balances and blood pressure. Most kids are getting slightly more than half of the recommended dose needed. Remember getting a muscle cramp as a kid and hearing your mom say, “Eat a banana!?”  She was right!  Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, along with oranges, dried apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, sweet potatoes, fish, and tomatoes.

As the mom of a two year old girl I know it can be difficult to get all of these needed nutrients into your child!  Fortunately many of these suggested foods, like beans or nuts, can serve a dual purpose. If you have a finicky eater you may want to talk to your pediatrician about adding vitamin supplements, but IT IS possible to get all they need by eating the right foods.

I found something that was interesting and fun…the US government has a food pyramid and website just for kids with lots of helpful hints about their health – Check it out!

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