17 August, 2011
What Are the Health Benefits of Apples for Kids?
When it comes to your children, an apple a day just might keep the doctor away. Apples are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to keep your little ones healthy. They are relatively cheap when purchased in season and they’re versatile. Most children enjoy apples, so give your kids a nutritious and delicious snack that will keep them healthy now and into adulthood.
Carbohydrates provide children with the energy they need to work and play. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends carbohydrate sources that contain dietary fiber and no added sugars making apples an excellent choice. Apples contain the same amount of fiber as a bowl of bran cereal and probably appeal to your child's taste buds a little bit more. This is one-fifth the recommended amount of dietary fiber, according to the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Child Development. Fiber boosts your child’s energy and keeps him feeling full for longer.
Apples contain the trace mineral boron. Boron is essential to your child because it helps harden his bones. Strong bones aid in preventing osteoporosis later in life, according to the University of Pittsburgh. Medline Plus states boron is needed for building muscle and improving cognitive skills and muscle coordination.
Apples give your child a healthy dose of pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that assists your child in digesting foods more easily and is useful in treating diarrhea. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center states pectin may also be useful in preventing cancer and high cholesterol, which will reduce your child’s future risk for heart disease.
One medium apple contains 14 percent of the Dietary Reference Intake for vitamin C. You need vitamin C every day because your body doesn’t store it. It's used for growth, tissue repair and to make collagen. Collagen is a protein your child relies on to build skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels. Vitamin C heals wounds and keeps your child’s bones and teeth healthy and strong. The University of Maryland Medical Center states vitamin C may help prevent high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, cancer, stroke and hardening of the arteries.
Among all the fruits, apples have one of the highest rates of pesticide use, getting sprayed up to eight times, according to the University of Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, most of the nutrients are in the peel of the apple. Buy organic, pesticide-free apples or purchase them from local farmers and inquire about their use of pesticides. Washing them doesn’t remove all the chemicals. If you can’t buy organic, remove the skin for young children who are more easily affected by pesticides than adults.
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