Oregon Aglink has partnered with Oregon Health and Sciences University to host some dietetic interns each Fall during their rotations. This year, our intern Phoebe Luc wrote blog posts on some popular Oregon crops, their health benefits, and where we might see them on our table or in markets.
Leading with Fuji and Gala, Oregon produces over twenty-one different varieties of apples compared to the eight thousand varieties grown worldwide. As Oregon’s nineteenth largest agricultural commodity, we produced over 175 million pounds of apples valued at over 38 million dollars in 2017! With five thousand acres dedicated to apple orchards in Oregon, apples are available yearlong, but peak in late summer to early fall. Oregon’s beloved rainfall and climate make it a sweet location for apple growing.
Don’t Skin the Skin!
From a nutrition standpoint, there is truth behind the common saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – but only with the skin on! Packed with vitamin C and E, most of the fruit’s health benefits come from the 2-3% of fiber found in the outer layer.
Pectin fiber and polyphenols from the apple peel act as shields for the heart and blood vessels, protecting them from chemical damages. These plant chemicals can help improve cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol levels and decreasing blood pressure.
The apple peel contains a large range of flavonoids. Similar to pectin and polyphenols, these flavonoids act as protectors of the pancreas. Your pancreas produces hormones to help regulate blood sugar, and the fiber from the peel helps slow down the release of insulin to prevent a sudden sugar spike. Not only does eating at least one apple a day decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes by 28%, but also slows down digestion and increases satiety resulting in better weight control.
Want to find some apples? Oregon Farm Bureau hosts the Oregon’s Bounty search engine, where you can find apples at roadside stands and U-pick orchards. You can also visit a farmer’s market– check online with the Oregon Farmers Market Association to learn more about what is near you!
Recipe of the month:
Whether you’ve always enjoyed whole apples fresh or dried, here’s another delicious way to achieve all the wonderful health benefits from apples baked.
Bob’s Red Mill Best-Ever Healthy Apple Crisp