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Apples, eating them really can keep doctors away

Published 10:09am Friday, September 20, 2013

This time of year, with its shorter days and cooler nights, signals the arrival of apple season.

Here are a few interesting facts about apples you might not know. Apples are actually a member of the rose family, and the apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian and the Black Seas. There are more than 2,500 varieties grown in the U.S., but crabapples are the only ones actually native to North America.

Humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C. This fruit is grown in all 50 United States, but is only commercially grown in 36. The world’s top apple producers are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy. Some apple trees grow more than 40 feet high and live more than 100 years. It takes the energy from 50 leaves to produce just one apple. And yes, believe it or not; one of George Washington’s hobbies was pruning his apple trees.

Apples are truly delicious, but did you know they are really a super-food? That’s right; apples are a great source of vitamins A, C and flavonoids (plant pigments which protect the body from cell-damaging free radicals). They contain 5 grams of soluble fiber, which keeps the intestinal tract healthy, and helps control insulin levels by releasing sugars slowly into the bloodstream. Pectin (another type of soluble fiber), found in apples, keeps the intestinal tract clean, promotes beneficial bacterial growth and helps lower cholesterol levels by slowing insulin secretion.

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