We’ve all heard the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," but why? Do you really know what makes an apple so special? Why is it that we never hear an orange or a banana a day keeps the doctor away?
The variety of health benefits supplied by apples is huge. Apples have been proven to be one of nature's best antioxidants and a friend to anyone who wants healthy skin. You will be able to get similar benefits individually with other fruits, but an apple combines everything and makes it simpler. Apples have no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and contain small amounts of potassium, which may promote heart health, help maintain healthy blood pressure as well as a healthy weight.
Did you know?
- Apple skin is considered roughage and is a great remedy for constipation. This fiber also helps the digestive tract run smoothly, helping to prevent diverticulosis, a condition which can lead to colon cancer. Another benefit of fiber is its "filling" effect.
- The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body's need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes.
- Apples contain a number of antioxidants such as polyphenol and flavonoid that reduce the risk of developing cancer by preventing DNA damage.
- Apples are a primary source of quercetin. A recent study found that the phytonutrient called quercetin reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsonism and Alzheimer’s.
- Eating a large apple can give an antioxidant effect that is equal to taking about 1,500mg of vitamin C.
- Apple cider vinegar used as a beverage prevents the formation of kidney stones.
- Eating an apple after a non vegetarian meal makes for easier digestion.
- Two varieties of apples, Granny Smith and Red Delicious, are great for the skin. While all apples are good for you, these two varieties in particular contain abundant amounts of both collagen and elastin, both great for youthful skin.
As a snack that needs little preparation, apples are packed with health-boosting properties. It is important to keep in mind that a lot of the goodness of apples is contained in the skin. When eaten whole, they need to be washed carefully - right before being consumed. If you’ve got a little time, try this recipe that’s simple and delicious. The aroma will let you know that Fall is here.
Baked Apples with Cashew Cream
Cashew Cream (*make this in the morning or the evening before)
1 cup raw cashews
2 cups white grape, pear or apple juice
2 Tbsp sunflower seed oil or melted coconut oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar or to taste
1 tsp vanilla
- Bring the cashews and juice to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the cashews soften (5 - 10 minutes)
- Cover, and leave to cool for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge
- Drain the cashews, reserving the liquid
- Blend the cashews with the oil and vanilla, adding a small amount of the reserved juice as needed to help things along. Use as little liquid as possible - the cream should be thick
- Add the sugar gradually, testing until it has the right amount sweetness for you
- Using a rubber spatula, transfer the cream from the blender to a covered storage container, and refrigerate until needed
4 large ripe sweet red apples (Rome or Jona-Gold are good, Red Delicious or Macintosh are not)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp veggie spread or butter
1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Wash the apples
- With a small sharp knife, cut out a 1 1/2 inch round cone shaped piece from the stem end of each apple
- Use a small spoon to scoop out the rest of the core IMPORTANT: Be careful NOT to go through the other end of the apple, or your sugar mixture won't stay inside the apple!
- Mix the sugar, veggie spread or butter and cinnamon to make a paste
- Add 1/4 of the paste to the middle of each apple
- Place apples in a casserole dish with lid, or a cake pan covered with foil
- Add 1/4 cup of water, cover, and bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until apples are tender but not falling apart. Top with cashew cream or whipped cream.
Carol DiPirro has been passionate about cooking, nutrition and healthy eating since she was a child, baking her first eggless cake from scratch at 8 yrs old. Growing up in an Italian family, clean healthy eating was the furthest thing from her dinner table. She has enjoyed years of re-creating her family’s favorite meals in a lighter, healthier way. She is currently studying towards a degree in Nutrition. Join Carol's Facebook Fan page: Chilly Peppers.