Can an Apple a day keep the Doctor away

 From USA Swimming Nutrition blog





Apples illustration. (Medium)CHRIS ROSENBLOOM, PHD, RDN, CSSD

October is National Apple Month, and although apples are available year round, they are best in the fall when the new crop is harvested. Portable, convenient, tasty and nutritious, apples are a perfect snack for swimmers. 

You may be a fan of juicy red delicious apples or tart Granny Smiths, but there are more than 2500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S. My grocery store carries so many interesting varieties (Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Braeburn, Cripps’ Pink and Cameo, to name a few) that I like to buy one of each and conduct an in-home taste test.

On average, American’s consume 1 serving of fruit a day, so we are sorely in need or increasing fruit intake. Swimmers have some good reasons to eat more apples:

  • Apples are a good source of vitamin C and most of this vitamin is right under the skin, so eating the whole fruit with the peel is good idea.
  • 1 medium apple (about 3” in diameter) is only 95 calories and the calories come from carbohydrate about 23 grams, making it a perfect snack before practice.
  • Apples are a good source of a type of fiber called pectin, a soluble fiber. This type of fiber helps to promote fullness, regulate blood sugar and helps keep blood fats in a healthy range. 
  • Apples are also a source of the antioxidant quercetin. This is plant compound is being researched for endurance performance and anti-inflammatory properties. About 80% of quercetin is lost in processing apples into juice, so eat the whole fruit.

In addition to eating a shiny apple, try these easy recipes to increase fruit intake:

Applesauce: Dice apples into chunks to make about 6 cups and add ¼ cup water and about ¼ cup sugar. Microwave for about 6 minutes and mash with a potato masher for chunky homemade applesauce. 

Baked apples: Core a whole apple but don’t go all the way through; leave about a ½ inch at the bottom. Mix a little brown sugar, chopped walnuts or pecans, and cinnamon and pack into the cored apple. Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla yogurt for a sweet snack or dessert.

An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but it will make a dietitian happy and a swimmer a little bit healthier. 

Chris Rosenbloom is a professor emerita of nutrition at Georgia State University and provides sports nutrition consulting services to athletes of all ages. She is the editor-in-chief of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sports Nutrition Manual, 5th edition and editor-in-chief of an online Sports Nutrition Care Manual for health care professionals. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents and coaches. Email her atchrisrosenbloom@gmail.com.