By Laura Nahins, Registered Dietitian, Nuvance Health
When it comes to healthy fall produce, one fruit simply takes the cake — especially if that cake is made of apples. Yes, you have probably heard the saying “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” But what makes apples just as nutritious as they are sweet?
Here are the health benefits of apples and a fun and easy recipe using this crisp superfood.
Fun facts about apples
Did you know just one apple makes up about 10% to 15% of your daily required fiber intake? Did you also know that apples are so popular there are about 200 different varieties available in the U.S. and over 7,500 varieties grown worldwide? How about them apples?
Apples are a superfood
Apples are classified as a superfood because of the macro and micronutrients that benefit your health. They are filled with vitamins, nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. Superfoods such as apples have even been linked to preventing certain health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. We will dive into more details, keep reading.
Health benefits of apples
Dietary fiber in apples
Dietary fiber is found primarily in the fruits and vegetables that you eat. Apples contain lots of fiber, which is important for overall digestive health. Fiber is the portion of grains that the body does not fully digest so it pulls stool and other waste with it.
Sometimes, low- or no-fiber diets can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as constipation. The more fiber there is in your diet, the more it helps regulate your bowel movements, maintain gut health, lower cholesterol levels and help control blood pressure.
Fiber can help you feel full longer, and in turn, help you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight and obese is linked to an increased risk of cancer and also heart disease and diabetes.
Antioxidants and polyphenols in apples
Apples contain many natural antioxidants that ease inflammation in your body and have a variety of other digestive health benefits, including relief from constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.
Apples also contain five polyphenol types including; flavanols, phenolic acids, dihydrochalcones, flavonols and anthocyanins. Polyphenols are responsible for fighting off free radicals in your body. Free radicals are unstable and highly reactive molecular organisms inside your body that are linked to harmful diseases and aging. According to research, flavonols have also been linked to improving aging-related memory loss.
Apples and acid reflux relief
Non-citrus foods including some types of apples may help reduce acid reflux symptoms. Foods that help to neutralize stomach acid and ease heartburn caused by acid reflux. While we need more research, red apples are heartburn friendly.
What are the different types of apples?
Here are popular types of apples and how they taste best:
- Fuji apples have a crisp and soft texture with a sweet taste. They are exceptionally good for baking.
- Gala apples have a floral aroma with a mellow sweet taste. They are great for snacking or chopping and adding to salad.
- Golden Delicious apples have a mild and sweet flavor that has a buttery, honey taste. They are great for baking apple pies and crisps mixed with other tarter apple varieties.
- Granny Smith apples have a tart and crisp with a distinct citrus-type flavor. They pair well with rich and savory ingredients and are good for baking and cooking.
- Honeycrisp apples are sweet and tart with an airy, crisp, crunchy texture. They are good for making applesauce and have a long shelf life.
- McIntosh apples are sweet, juicy, tart and mildly spicy. They are perfect for making applesauce or pies and all-purpose cooking.
- Red Delicious apples are sweet, mild and juicy. They are great for snacking or eating fresh but not for cooking or baking.
Recipe: Apple wedges with pumpkin almond butter
Try this easy apple recipe now that you know the types of apples, best ways to eat them and many health benefits,
- 24 slices golden delicious apple slices
- 24 slices granny smith apple slices
Pumpkin Almond Butter Dip
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned or from scratch)
- 1/3 cup almond butter (or crunchy peanut butter)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Mix the dip ingredients.
- Arrange apple slices, dip on a plate and enjoy!
The bottom line: Apples are a nutritious and healthy superfood that you can enjoy any time of the year. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants and are linked to many health benefits, including protecting your body against cancer, chronic disease and coronary heart disease. They can also help your digestion due to their high fiber content. Make apples the apple of your eye for their many health benefits.