While an apple a day might keep the doctor away, it may also be the perfect substitute for that morning cup of coffee too! The fruit is known for its vitamin C, as a good source of fiber, and its legendary powers at sucking up to grade school teachers.
But what else can the all-powerful apple do? Is there more to the apple than the old wives’ tale is letting on? Of course! That’s right: the pick-up-and-go fruit has similar effects to the prepare-it-yourself coffee.
Remember though that apples do not contain any type of caffeine. Apples have about 13 grams of natural sugar; which is much healthier than 4 grams of Sweet’ N Low mixed into a daily dose of coffee. There is no jolt of energy. No mood swings, and, most importantly, no crash. The results wear off as gradually as they started.
However, the fructose (a natural sugar) in apples can provide an energy boost equivalent to that of coffee. Crazy, right? Additionally, apples have carbs, which are used to fuel the body, and due to their high fiber content, the body absorbs the sugar slowly, thus providing the body with a steady stream of energy (sans sugar coma) as opposed to a sudden jolt of café au lait.
According to Livestrong, while asleep, body temperatures drop slightly and blood pressure falls. Returning to normal levels takes time, so the body experiences a sluggish period when first waking up. A cup of hot coffee provides warmth to counter the morning chill, but also contains chemical compounds that boost the body quickly into a full waking state.
The 100 milligrams of caffeine in a typical cup of coffee increases heart rate and speeds breathing. Caffeine also raises blood pressure and stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine does make a person more alert and fosters a feeling of well-being.
The counter argument to this is that snacks which are too sugary or fatty will actually have the opposite effect, causing the body to crash. So why apples?
Apples can also bolster a person’s health in ways that benefit early morning activities. Apples contain high levels of phytonutrients, antioxidants that give apple skin its color. Eating apples regularly improves breathing. If a person east more than two apples weekly, the bronchial tubes react less violently to irritants and the risk of asthma falls, according to an article published in Nutrition Journal in 2004.
Flavonoids in apples improve lung function, protecting the body from lung cancer and from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If a person eats five or more apples every week, the lungs could hold 138 milliliters more air during a forced expiratory volume test, compared to the lungs of someone who doesn’t eat apples.
Coffee provides almost no caloric energy. If a person wakes up hungry and only drinks coffee, that person can quickly run low on blood sugar. An apple provides no energizing caffeine but supplies enough carbohydrate energy for a quick start.
Caffeine can be addictive. Caffeine side effects include nervousness, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, headaches, and heart palpitations. Too much coffee can cause caffeine intoxication, sleep disorders, and anxiety. But, it is also known to reduce symptoms of depression. A caffeine overdose can cause: ringing of the ears, muscular seizures, tension, twitching, overextensions, rapid heartbeat, dehydration, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Caffeine has become college students’ best friends for universities around the nation. Senior Marinna Grasley is an avid coffee drinker. When asked if she would cut caffeine entirely out of her daily diet to substitute and depend solely on apples to keep her awake throughout the day her response was relatable: “Absolutely not. College has created an extreme dependency on caffeine for me. The college environment only acknowledges the amount of work that you get done not whether or not you have healthy sleeping patterns. There is a direct correlation between the amount of caffeine that I drink and any success that I have had while being in college.”
When senior Maddie Lacesa was asked the same question she had a similar answer, “No way! The only way I can make it through classes is with a cup of coffee.”
So are students hurting their bodies more by the amount of caffeine dependency that has been formed throughout college? Should students try to start making the apple switch? Even if forgoing that morning latte is not doable, it is never a bad idea to include an apple in a daily diet routine.
If giving up coffee this year is part of the plan, it is highly recommend to give that apple-a-day trick a try. While that instant coffee buzz will not be felt, the body will be energized and properly fueled to kick start the day on a healthy note. A cup of green tea in the mornings along with an apple is also an alternative to try!