As if you needed one more excuse to go apple picking this season…this classic fruit comes with a host of health benefits.
As it turns out, an apple a day really may keep the doctor away. From fighting obesity to strengthening your mind, this juicy, seasonal fruit comes with some serious health perks.
Apples may keep obesity at bay.
A new study from Washington State University found that some of the compounds in Granny Smiths, in particular, could help prevent certain disorders that lead to obesity. The sour fruit helps good bacteria in the colon grow and eventually spread to the stomach. And a healthy metabolism relies on the right amount of bacteria, which can affect inflammation levels and help us feel full and satisfied. While the non-digestible compounds responsible for these benefits can be found in other types of apples, Granny Smiths contain the most.
You may want to skip peeling your apples if you’re after the full slimming effects. Researchers at the University of Iowa linked ursolic acid, found in the peel, with a lower rate of obesity in mice. That’s because the compound seems to increase brown fat, the “good fat” that regulates your body temperature and appears to feed on regular body fat.
Apples could fight cancer.
An apple provides roughly 10 percent of the vitamin C and fiber we need each day. Vitamin C is great for boosting our immune system and has been linked with a lower risk of cancer in the esophagus. And dietary fiber is thought to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, possibly because it helps with weight control. The peels of apples also contain quercetin, a flavonoid that shows anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help prevent cancer.
Apples lower cholesterol.
As a great source of fiber, apples are classic cholesterol busters. That’s because pectin, one type of soluble fiber, lowers LDL, or the “bad cholesterol.” A medium-sized apple packs 4.4 grams of fiber, a good chunk of the 21 to 25 grams recommended for women and the 30 to 38 grams recommended for men each day.
And they might reduce the risk of stroke.
White, fleshy fruits, like apples, may help lower the odds of having a stroke. One study showed that people who ate a lot of white fruits and veggies were able to reduce their stroke risk by 50 percent. Even adding as little as 25 grams of white produce in each day could lower your risk of stroke by nine percent. So munch away on those apples, pears and cauliflower.
Apples are food for thought.
Apples may increase your brainpower. Although the rumor that an apple has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee is definitely a myth, they do contain natural sugars that can also give you a boost. So go ahead and try subbing out that second cup of coffee for an apple this afternoon.
Now that we’ve gotten through all the serious health benefits of apples….lets talk about the seriously delicious taste benefits with some fabulous recipes to get you in the Fall spirit!
Grandma’s Apple Cobbler
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), 1/2 stick cut into large pieces; remaining 1 stick cold and cut into small pieces
3 pounds Granny Smith apples (6 to 7), peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 1/2 stick butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is golden brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes; let cool. Toss together apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla-bean seeds in another bowl, breaking up clumps and combining with a fork or fingers. Add browned butter to apples. Stir in flour mixture.
2. Transfer apple mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, cover tightly with parchment-lined foil. Place a parchment-lined baking sheet on bottom rack of oven to catch juices. Bake apples on middle rack directly over the baking sheet, 10 minutes. Remove and discard parchment-lined foil.
3. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Cut remaining 1 stick butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or 2 knives to form clumps that are no larger than small peas. Add cream to flour mixture; stir until a soft, sticky dough forms. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces; arrange over filling. Brush dough with cream, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
4. Return cobbler to oven on middle rack directly over the baking sheet until topping is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 55 to 65 minutes. If topping is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Let cool 20 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
Farm Fresh Applesauce
A trio of warming spices — cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves — makes this easy applesauce taste like the most wonderful pie filling.
3 pounds apples, such as Cameo, McIntosh, Jonagold, or Gala (8 to 10), peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup fresh apple cider or water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus grated lemon zest to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of kosher salt
1. Combine apples, cider, lemon juice, spices, and salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover; simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, 10 minutes.
2. Season apple mixture with lemon zest. Mash with a potato masher until chunky (or puree in a blender or food processor for a smoother texture). Let cool completely. Serve, sprinkled with more cinnamon, or store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week, or in freezer up to 3 months.
Apple Chocolate Cake
If you like chocolate, and if you like apples, then this is the cake for you! The rich combination of the two will bring you coming back for seconds!
1 stick salted butter, at room temperature, plus more for buttering the pan
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nilla, crushed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 large apples such as Honey Crisp, peeled and cut into small dice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan and dust all sides with the crushed vanilla wafers; set aside. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl and set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and cook, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent burning, until the butter browns and smells nutty, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar to the eggs. Add one-third of the flour mixture, then half of the butter, another third of the flour, the remaining butter and the rest of flour, mixing between additions. Whisk until just barely combined. Using a spatula, gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. It is very important not to over-whisk or over-fold the batter or it will lose volume. Pour into the prepared pan.
In a medium bowl, toss the apples, cinnamon, lemon zest and remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and pour on top of the batter. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, 40 to 50 minutes. Release the pan when cooled and sprinkle the cake with confectioners’ sugar.
To read more about your favorite apple types, and find more scrumptious recipes check out our previously posted article on all things apples!
*Recipes reprinted from: www.marthstewart.com