October is here—time for some Halloween fun with the kids! Alongside the dressing up and collecting sweets, one game which has been passed down through generations comes out every year: bobbing for Apples. This traditional game is a Halloween favourite, but why? The game dates back to the Romans, who celebrated Pomona, the Goddess of Fruit and Trees by incorporating this game into the Celtic festival of Samhain (Halloween). As well as these age-old roots, another reason that apples may have been chosen to celebrate this holiday may have been the fact that they are very much in season in October, which is great due to the health benefits of this delicious fruit. We all know the old Welsh proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but what makes this fruit so special?
- Apples contain vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that works against ‘free radicals’ which may cause damage in the body. Vitamin C is also essential for the formation of blood vessels, collagen, muscles, and cartilage, not to mention the amazing role it has to play in the body’s healing process and strengthening of the immune system!
- Apples are also packed with B vitamins Riboflavin, Thiamin, and Vitamin B-6 (also known as B complex vitamins). These vitamins are essential for keeping the nervous system in good nick and in keeping red blood cells healthy and working well. They are also important for heart health, digestion, and good energy maintenance.
- Apples are also a brilliant source of fibre! A diet high in fibre has been linked to preventing the development of certain diseases and has been said to help reduce “bad” cholesterol in the blood. Fibre is like a natural sweeping brush for the gut. Containing no calories, it slows down the absorption of sugar and fats in the blood which helps regulate blood sugar levels. High-fibre snacks help you to feel fuller for longer, and therefore apples can contribute to healthy weight maintenance. For maximum fibre, be sure to eat the skins!
- Apples are high in fructose (a natural sugar found in fruits), and therefore, they are energy-dense. For this reason, they are a great snack in the afternoon if you are feeling the day is dragging and need a pick-me-up to get to the end of the day. (Some even find that eating an apple will give more energy than a cup of black coffee!)
So, as the days are getting shorter and winter is looming, incorporating apples into your diet can do some great things. All of the wonderful nutrients can help to ward off infection and keep you energised, not to mention the wonders they can do for your digestion! A great snack for kids and adults alike, in the lunchbox, with your breakfast, in a salad, or as a snack in the evening, there are so many delicious ways to enjoy apples!