An Apple A Day . . . .

Here’s my stand on snacking:  I recommend consistently eating three, full and balanced meals daily and not snacking.  Some people need to eat six small meals a day for medical reasons.  Of course how many meals you eat is an individual choice.

However, I’ve found that snacking usually means eating foods that are highly processed, high in carbs, calories and sugar.  And this can lead to an accumulation of fat stored around your middle, and it can lead to fatty liver as well.

One of the things I love most are apples.  Apples are easy to carry, they’re small, pack a lot of taste and they’re handy — you don’t need any utensils to digest one. They also can add to a feeling of satiety.  Plus they’re alkaline and certain types can be sweet tasting.  If you’re a snacker – apples are the perfect treat.

The best way to eat an apple is the way nature intended, fresh and whole with no cooking or juicing.  This is because you don’t want to break down the nutrients or discard the fiber.

It’s also a good idea not to peel the apple.  You’ll want to eat the combination of fiber and phytonutrients found in the skin.  You must wash the skin of the apple first.  Apples are on the dirty dozen list, meaning they’ve been heavily sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals.  When you wash them, soak them for about 15 minutes in (90%) water and (10%) vinegar to help reduce the pesticide buildup.  Of course, if you wait until you want to eat one, you’ll have to wait while you go through the soaking process which is one reason why I suggest purchasing USDA organic labeled apples, if possible.

Be sure to check out where your apples have come from.  Organic apples will have a 5 digit PLU # on the bag that begins with the number “9.”

You may be wondering about the fructose in apples.  Apples are one of the best fruits you can eat.  There’s about 9.5 grams of fructose in a medium apple.  Eating too much fructose is linked to increased belly fat (which can increase your chances of Type 2 Diabetes) so be sure to limit your intake.  Try keeping your daily total fructose intake to less than 15 grams or at the most 25 grams.

Timing is important, too.  Between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. the body is going through its heaviest detox phase.  Try eating your apple (in fact, any fruit) early in the morning on an empty stomach.  This way you receive all the nutritional benefits by fully absorbing all the nutrients and fiber because the sugars in the fruit are broken down quickly by your digestive system.  However, when you pair your apple with other food that is not fruit, your digestive system takes longer to break down the food.  Your apple can sit in your stomach longer and ferment in your gut and may even cause stomach distress.

You can eat other fruit with your apple.  And you can have your apple in a smoothie made with a nut milk or a nut butter because this will not tax your digestive system.  Try waiting 1-2 hours before eating your next meal.  When you eat your apple (or any fruit) on an empty stomach, you will notice how energized you feel and how you feel full longer.

Apples are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.  The acids in the apple (malic and tartaric) can aid digestion.  And apples are associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, dementia and a decreased risk of stroke. They can reduce inflammation.  Also, the oligosaccharides and other compounds found in apples have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.  Apples can help to detox your liver.  If you eat apples regularly, they can help with endurance because they assist in making oxygen more available to the lungs and the flavonoids in apples can help to protect you from lung cancer.

Really I can’t think of anything better than an apple.  Remember the old saying, an apple a day . . . keeps the doctor away.  It’s best to eat one first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, but if you feel like you can’t skip the sugary desserts (cakes, cookies, pies) or the pretzels and chips substitute an apple any time of the day.

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