The evenings are getting darker, the days a little crisper, and it is time to gear up for the fun festivities of Halloween! One game that always springs to mind from childhood during this holiday is bobbing for apples! However, this game has some fascinating history; it originates from the Celtic festival of Samhain. The idea of this game stemmed from when men and women wanted to predict their future love lives. A British military surveyor named Charles Vallancey explained the game as a way to determine which young unmarried people would be the next to marry. If you could pick the apple up on the first try, you would get married very soon! The Samhain festival symbolised the end of summer and is now known as Halloween. Apples are in season at this time of year, which means by the end of October, there are plenty of apples for the Samhain or Halloween celebrations! The significance of the apple on Samhain was to provide good fortune and abundance. Luckily for us, this delicious fruit offers many health benefits too.
Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants that aren’t considered essential nutrients but are associated with the health benefits of fruits and vegetables beyond their vitamin and mineral content. The phytochemicals in apples are called polyphenols, including flavonoids, quercetin, and phenolic acids, which have antioxidant properties. These antioxidants promote good health and may protect against various diseases.
One of the great nutritional benefits of apples is their high fibre content. A medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of dietary fibre, making it an excellent choice for a snack or with a meal. The two primary forms of fibre in apples are called cellulose and pectin. These fibres can help by slowing down the absorption rate of sugar and fats in the blood, allowing you to feel fuller for longer. Fibre promotes a feeling of fullness and supports digestive health and regular bowel movements.
Moreover, the fibre in apples, particularly pectin, has been shown to impact blood sugar control positively. It helps slow the absorption of sugar, giving a steady energy supply. Research has also shown that eating enough fibre in the diet and including various fibres like pectin can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. For maximum fibre, be sure to eat the skins!
Years ago, there was a great cartoon called Lazy Town where a character described apples as sports candy! It described fruit perfectly…apples get their sweetness from a natural sugar called fructose. This natural energy source makes them a great snack option for any time of the day. Apples are a very versatile fruit included in your kid’s lunchboxes for school, added to your breakfast, or tossed into a salad – or you could even get creative and use them to bake a nice treat! As Halloween draws near, it’s essential to remember that not all treats are created equal. While we all enjoy a few treats, it’s equally important to incorporate healthier options too. Apples are in season, taste delicious and are the perfect traditional nutritional treat for the season.