SELAH, WA--(Marketwire - Jan 17, 2012) - It seems to be the top-of-mind question this New Year: How can I make more healthful decisions this year? Tree Top's consulting nutritionist, Deanna Segrave-Daly, has pulled together a few quick and easy ideas for taking a more sound and nourishing approach to your 2012 diet.

"At Tree Top we firmly believe every day is a fresh start for making the right decisions for yours and your family's health," said Segrave-Daly. As fruit experts, Tree Top knows apples play a large role in the eating habits of healthy Americans and are a great source of fiber and disease fighting antioxidants. Besides providing ideas to incorporate healthy fruits like apples into your diet, Tree Top offers these other healthy tips and motivations:

TIP #1: Reduce oil and sodium consumption
To lower the fat in a recipe and increase the vitamin and antioxidant content, try substituting apple sauce for cooking oil. It's best suited to replace oil in moist breads, muffins and cakes. Start with an oil-to-apple sauce ratio of 1:1. If that works well, experiment with replacing more of the oil with apple sauce. Also, substituting apple juice for chicken broth can boost the nutrition and lower the amount of sodium in a sauce or soup recipe. It can also be used instead of wine or broth to deglaze a pan after cooking meat.

Additional recipe substitution options include replacing bread crumbs with rolled oats or bran cereal, table salt with herbs, and sour cream with plain low-fat yogurt or fat-free cottage cheese.

TIP #2: Nurture your brain health
Recent studies from the University of Massachusetts Lowell show that eating more antioxidant-rich foods like apples may help prevent a decline in memory and brain function. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. You'll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange and yellow hues.

Researchers believe antioxidants found in apples and apple products help prevent the deterioration of acetylcholine found in the body, which is vital for communication between brain nerve cells.

TIP #3: Fight cancer with diet
German researchers looked at the specific cancer-preventative components of apples, apple juice and apple extracts and found that apples contain a variety of polyphenols, phytochemicals and fiber. These nutrients appear to affect cancer activity by fighting inflammation, disrupting tumor growth and increasing antioxidant activity.

Besides apples, berries, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit and nuts are among other foods that have similar cancer-fighting nutrients.

TIP #4: Eat more fiber
The American Dietetic Association recommends 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men, daily. While the benefits of fiber are many -- including giving us the feeling of satiety (full and satisfied), lowering cholesterol and helping to control blood sugar -- one of the most documented benefits of fiber is digestive health.

Apples and 100 percent apple juice are considered a good source of fiber, providing 10 percent of the daily fiber recommendation per serving. Researchers have found that cooked apples, like those found in apple sauce, provide indigestible carbohydrates that improve our digestive well being. Additional high-fiber foods include cooked peas, lentils, beans and artichokes.

TIP #5: Eat apples to avoid a pear shape
Eating an apple before a meal is a great way to avoid overeating. According to research conducted by Pennsylvania State University, people who ate an apple before lunch consumed almost 190 less calories.

For more information about the health benefits of apples and apple products, and for substitution tips, visit

About Tree Top
Since 1960, Tree Top has provided premium, quality juices, fruit based products and ingredients to consumers and most of the world's leading manufactures. The grower-owned cooperative operates eight processing facilities in the heart of Washington's apple country, Oregon and California. With more than 1,100 growers, the co-op creates the widest array of fruit-based products and ingredients available on the market. Tree Top's passion and attention to quality and craftsmanship makes it the first choice for customers. For more information, visit

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Tracy Anderson