“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” We all grew up with that phrase. We know that apples are good for us. More so, apples are delicious! Desserts, pies, sauces, apple snacks of all sorts satisfy any pallet. Apples are the most widely cultivated tree fruits in huge varieties among different cultures across the globe going back to ancient times.
But what really is so special about an apple that it has earned its place in the superfood category?
Thanks to the advancement of nutritional science and research, the apple truly is a little powerhouse. In summary, here is why. The apple:
- Is filled with nutrients that will reduce your risk of cancer, blood pressure; stabilize blood sugar and prevents or treats inflammatory disease.
- Is high in antioxidants of flavonoid and polyphenol which prevent DNA damage, a cancer development.
- Has a bounty of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, copper, and Zink to add to bone strength.
- Secretes organic acids which soothe the stomach and ease digestion when indigestion or low appetite.
- Processes more calorie burn in our body than what the apple contains; in other words it’s a negative-calorie food.
Green Apples vs. Red Apples
- Green apples have less sugar and glucose, thus the less sweet and more tart taste than red apples. But it also has less antioxidants.
- Red apples have more varying amounts of poly-phenols which regulate our blood sugar and prevent sugar spikes.
Overall, the nutritional properties were found in both apples about the same. Both apples, red and green, rate high in nutrients and health benefits.
Key Benefits of Eating Whole Apples vs. Apple Sauce or Juice
The fiber of the apple contains about 50% fat-soluble pectin that has a fat lowering effect. What is so special about the fiber in the apple compared to other fruit fibers is its interaction with other phytonutrients. This explains the cardiovascular benefits. That benefit, however, is only when eating the apple in its whole form and not as juice, apple sauce.
Scientists discovered that apples also have an impact on bacteria in the digestive tract which changes the metabolism in the large intestine, contributing to health benefits on bacterial balance in our digestive tract.
Researchers recently discovered that people who eat a whole apple compared to applesauce or apple juice report less hunger (and better satiety, or food satisfaction) and on the average ate 60 calories/day less when eating a medium apple approx. 15 min. before a meal.
Should We Eat an Apple a Day?
If only a minimal variety of other fruits are available, then an apple a day is highly beneficial. For instance, when I grew up during and after WWII in Germany, during the winter, the only fresh fruit available was the apple. My mother would store them in the basement during the winter next to a pile of potatoes. This was our winter staple.
But given the variety of fruits available today and the nutritional uniqueness of each type, it is recommended that we eat at least 2-3 whole fresh fruits per day or 2-3 cups’ worth that include apples preferably.
A Few Quick Ideas for Enjoying Fresh Apples
- Apple slices with peanut butter or almond butter – my grandchildren love this snack; to spice it up a bit more, add some cinnamon to taste and dip in granola.
- Don’t forget to put an apple into a smoothie – it counts as a raw whole apple because it is only chopped with its fiber pulp intact.
How about a 10-Minute Apple Sundae suggested in The Worlds Healthiest Foods?
Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 2 apples
- 2 TBS almond butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1½ tsp almond extract
- 2 TBS sliced almonds
- 2 TBS grated coconut
- Coarsely chop almonds and set aside for topping.
- In a small mixing bowl, blend the almond butter, maple syrup, and almond extract until smooth. It should be the consistency of caramel sauce.
- Cut the apples into quarters and core. Then cut the quarters into 3 pieces lengthwise and ¼-inch pieces crosswise. Place in two serving bowls.
- Drizzle the sauce over the two bowls of apples and top with almonds and coconut.
- Serves 2
To top it off: look up the recipe of N-Bake Apple Walnut Tart. It is delicious and highly nutritious!