Health: Benefits of Apples
An Apple a Day…
It sounds cliché, but honestly, it’s not a bad idea. Apples have a considerable amount of health benefits, and they score big points for convenience (which is huge in my book). They can be stored at room temperature, they don't have a wrapper, making them great for desk or car-munching, and they can be paired with all kinds of things for a great balanced snack, or as an addition to any meal.
One medium (3-inch diameter) apple has about 4.4g of fiber—they’re a great way to reach the daily recommended amount of 21-25g for women and 30-38g for men. Apples have both soluble (30%) and insoluble (70%) fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, whereas insoluble fiber does not, so they have different benefits. Soluble fiber, which is most of the fiber found in apple flesh, aids in digestion and can lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Pectin, one type of soluble fiber found in apples, promotes gut health by acting as a prebiotic, feeding good bacteria.
Insoluble fiber can promote bowel health and regularity by drawing water into your stool and making it easier to pass. Most of the insoluble fiber in an apple is in the skin, so eat that too! I recommend choosing organic apples and washing the skin before eating.
The apple skin is also a great source of polyphenols, a group of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which are linked to chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Other antioxidants in apples include quercetin (anti-inflammatory) and phloridzin (reduces sugar uptake in the intestines, which may reduce the risk of diabetes).
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which aids in wound healing, immune function, and iron absorption, among other benefits. One medium apple provides 10% of the daily value (DV) of Vitamin C.
Eat The Fruit, Skip The Juice
I cannot overstate the health benefits of eating apples. When you start taking pieces out of the whole though, things change. Sure, apple juice has Vitamin C. It also has a high concentration of sugar (even if there is no added sugar). Think of how many apples you need to juice to get one glass of apple juice. That may be 3 apples' worth of sugar in one glass. Not worth it. You're also missing out on all of the fiber.
Apple sauce is better, if there's no added sugar. One pouch of apple sauce has 3g of fiber. You're missing out on the insoluble fiber though, unless you make your own and keep the skin on (that's an idea).
Paired Pair your apple with protein or healthy fat One Apple, Six Ways for a more balanced snack that keeps you satisfied. My go-to pairings for apples are: 1/4 cup nuts, 1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter, string cheese, or 3-5 cubes of cheddar cheese. Or try making a cinnamon yogurt dip.
Who doesn't love a nice, crisp apple to munch on?
Sliced in round cross-sections—make "donuts" and add spread and topping of choice. We use peanut or almond butter, goat cheese (for a savory twist), or sometimes Nutella (yum!). Throw a few sprinkles on there, and it's a real crowd pleaser.
Diced and added to oatmeal, smoothies, and even muffins. The options are endless, so be creative, and have fun!
Chopped and sautéed with some cinnamon. You can add the chunks to greek yogurt, or on top of a little vanilla ice cream for a treat.
And of course: pies. And crumbles, obviously. Not the healthiest or most convenient way to eat apples, but undeniably the tastiest. Is it fall yet?.