MHLbannersmallAfter all this time, "an apple a day" is still good advice for a healthier diet

When you hear the word "apple" these days there's a good chance you'll think of a technology-based screen to read, write or text on. If, however, your mind first turns to fruit, you may wonder where the apple falls in the midst of pomegranates, acai berries, mangos, blueberries and the so-called "super fruits" that are being promoted for having health value that goes beyond traditional nutrition.

Well, as it turns out the apple is doing more than just holding its own in this honored company. In fact, you shouldn't overlook this familiar and homegrown fruit that offers powerful disease-fighting nutrients and other health benefits.Honeycrisp-Apple

  • Apples keep you hydrated: 84 percent of an apple's content is water. As a result, you get more nutritional bang for your buck since apples satisfy your hunger as well as your thirst.
  • They're high in taste and low in calories: It's no wonder that a famous variety of apple is called "Red Delicious" – and a medium-size apple has only 80 calories. They are fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and full of fiber. Plus they stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
  • They contain immune-boosting Vitamin C, which is important for the growth and repair of all body tissues. Vitamin C also helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
  • They help you meet your daily fruit intake. The USDA recommends about two cups or more of fruit per day for most adults. A medium apple counts as a cup of fruit, so if you snack on one fresh apple while on the go, you are halfway to meeting your daily fruit intake.

And you're surrounded by some of the best in the country. The famous apple growing regions of our state, primarily the Shenandoah Valley, the Roanoke Valley and the rich soils of Albemarle and Rappahannock counties, provide us with an abundance of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome, Gala, Winesap, Jonathan, Fuji, York, Stayman and Ginger Gold varieties.

What are the most important things you should know about apples?

In addition to being good for you and having a distinctive and delicious flavor, they're convenient to carry around, durable and affordable. But you should also know that apples are at their healthiest when consumed whole. Most of the fiber in apples comes from the skin and the pulp. When you remove the skin, you remove about half of the fiber.