Secret Food Series - Apple (4 of 10)

Does “being healthy” feel like a daunting task? Like everything “good” is off limitsand a really good diet is pretty boring? I thought like this for a long time too… but I'm happy to say it's not the case ;-)
Eating healthy is fun! I'm being serious here… there are hundreds of different healthy foods that taste amazing and give you tons of energy… I cannot wait to share them with you! That's why i created “The Secret Foods” blog series which is dedicated to the most amazing foods on the planet (in no particular order), What they are, Why they are important, and How to enjoy them…  Here goes… 
Top 10 AMAZING foods you need on your plate TODAY
#4 of 10 an Apple a Day…
What it is….
You have probably enjoyed apples your whole life, but never realized the “Eat an Apple a Day to Keep the Doctor Away” expression was for real!  
Some fun Apple facts…
The apple tree is part of the rose family… who know! The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek and European Christian traditions.
2500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States. Although apples are gown in every state, around 70% of the apples are grown in Washington state.
Why it’s Important… 
Apples are a rich source of various nutrients that are found in the skin, core, and meat of the apple.. all of these chemicals provide amazing health benefits & here are just a few:
Vitamin C - a powerful natural antioxidant.
B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B-6) - these vitamins are key in maintaining red blood cells and the nervous system in good health.
Dietary fiber - fiber is a super (non) nutrient… we do not absorb fiber but instead fiber works by keeping our digestive tract healthy and feeding good bacteria. 
Phytonutrients - apples are rich in phytonutrients, which help protect the body from… well, ALL metabolism…the hard work of life ;-)
Top 5 Health Benefits of eating an Apple a Day:
#1 Brain Health - Including apples in your daily diet may protect nerve cells against oxidation; this protection plays an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. 
#2 Fight all sorts of Cancers - There are several compounds in apple peels that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast.
#3 Healthy Immune System - Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which has been shown to help boost your immune system.
#4 Healthy Gut - Bacteria - Researchers have found that, compared with all other apple varieties, Granny Smiths appear to have the most beneficial effect on good gut bacteria.
#5 Healthy Heart - The soluble fiber in an apple helps regulate cholesterol in the body AND the phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. 
What to do about it … AKA how to Enjoy them!…
There are so many ways… Here are my top 10 recommendations:
TOP 10 Ways to eat an Apple a Day: 
#1 Just as is!
#2 With lemon (the lemon tastes amazing! and keeps them from turning brown)
#3 Sprinkled with cinnamon
#4 Baked (slice and bake at 350 for 15min)
#5 Chopped and toped over oatmeal
#6 Apple Rings (slice in 1inch rings, bake at 425 for 20min or until crispy)
#7Apple sauce (make your own! Roast and blend with cinnamon)
#8 As part of a fruit salad
#9 Dipped in peanut butter (the “just peanuts” kind … no sugar added ;)
#10 Just as is! (sorry so good this way)

Family and friends of Silver State… Eat an Apple a Day! EAT WELL… LOTS of VARIETY… & most importantly beautiful food first!
P.S… I am starting a grand new nutrition adventure… And will not be writing the Nutrition articles for the VolleyBlog any longer ;-(  BUT no worries! Lindsey Weller RDN CSSD, an AMAZING sports dietitian will be taking over!  
Shavawn M. Forester PhD RDN (aka The Nutrient Dense RDN)

Nutrition Instructor at the University of Nevada Reno

Founder of Nutrition Answered, LLC & the Eating Well Program