Will an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?
In a few short weeks, many of us will be trekking up the sides of mountains to pluck Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith and other apple varieties. It’s a fall tradition for many families. Sometimes trying to figure out what to do with all the apples picked is equal in tradition.
Most of us have heard “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But really, how nutritious are apples? Can they really promote good health? Well, in short, yes, apples are extremely nutritious and boast multiple health benefits. Let’s take a look at what an apple’s good for:
Bone Health: Apples contain traces of the element Boron which has been shown to strengthen bones.
Digestion: One apple contains 1/5 of your daily fiber needs; as much as a bowl of fiber cereal. This can prevent constipation.
Heart: Antioxidant phytonutrients found in apples will fight bad cholesterol (LDL) and help prevent heart disease. Potassium found in apples helps to lower blood pressure.
Lungs: Flavonoids in apples have proven to reduce the risk of lung cancer and improve lung function. In fact, it’s been shown that people who ate an apple before exercising were able to extend their exercise time due to increased lung function.
Weight: Apples suppress hunger longer than junk food and a great choice when trying to lose weight.
Teeth/Breath: Biting and chewing apples produce saliva which aids in cleaning the mouth, and the pectin found in apples controls bad odors.
Blood sugar: The phytonutrients found in apples prevents spikes in blood sugar a number of different ways; reducing the risk of diabetes.
Brain: In animal studies, elderly mice and rats fed concentrated apple juice and apples saw improved memory and minimized mental decline.
So are you ready to get picking? Why not have some healthy apple recipes ready to go for our bounty? acac Nutritionist Donna Wheeler recommends the following:
Apple Cheddar Soup
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 med baking potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1 med apple, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
In a large sauce pan, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Stir in potatoes, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add apple. Return to boil. Simmer covered for 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender (may use hand blender to puree soup if you prefer it not to be chunky). In a small bowl, combine milk and cornstarch, stir into soup. Cook an stir until bubbly. Slowly add cheese, whisking until cheese is melted. Serve in bowls, top with apple slices and peppercorns if desired. Makes six 1/2 cup servings.
Apple and Pork Stir-fry with Ginger
- 2 tbsp. peach jam, preferably fruit sweetened
- 2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 dark toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger root
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
- 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 2 firm apples, such as Fuji or Gala, cut into one-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In small bowl, combine jam, soy sauce, water and cornstarch. Set aside.
- In large non-stick skillet, heat sesame oil over medium high heat. Add pork and ginger and stir-fry until pork is browned and just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer pork and ginger to bowl with slotted spoon. Add canola oil to skillet. Stir-fry peppers, water chestnuts, and apples until peppers are crisp tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add pork back to skillet along with scallions. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Add jam mixture. Continue to stir-fry 30 seconds to one minute, or until sauce thickens. Season to taste with black pepper. Makes 4 servings.
Click here for: Warm Chicken, Apple and Curried Couscous Salad
Apples are a great way to enjoy fall and do something healthy and delicious for you and your family!