I’m going to assume you’ve never heard the saying “An açaí berry a day keeps the doctor away.” I know I haven’t. While the saying may be true, I don’t see it catching on very well. Recently “superfoods” have been coming out of the woodwork, but what is it that makes them so much healthier than the standard fruits we have always eaten? Personally, I love pomegranate-flavored yogurt, but I have never thought to buy a fresh pomegranate at the grocery store, no matter how much of a “superfood” it is. I wouldn’t even know how to open it. I’m a nutrition student in college; I like things simple, delicious, and nutrient-dense. I like apples.
To me, apples are the perfect fruit. They’re portable, versatile, sweet, and do wonders for your health. Now lets look at the facts behind the phrase that I’m sure you have heard: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
- 4 grams of fiber (per medium apple)
- Excellent source of potassium
- High in vitamin C
Weight Management and Healthy Diet
- Help to satisfy hunger for few calories (95 calories per medium apple)
- One medium apple counts as 1 cup of fruit
Heart Health & Chronic Disease Prevention
- Soluble fiber in the flesh has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Antioxidants help reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol and inhibit inflammation
- Diets high in potassium are associated with lower blood pressure
- Compounds found in the skin of apples have powerful inhibitory effects on cancer cells in the liver, colon, and breast
- A flavanoid unique to apples may enhance bone density and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis
- Apples have been referred to as “nature’s toothbrush”
- Replacing sugar-sweetened snacks and desserts with fresh apples will stimulate saliva production and reduce the number of cavity-producing bacteria, reducing the risk of developing dental caries
Physical Activity Benefits
- An antioxidant in the skin of apples has been show to make oxygen more available to the lungs, enhancing endurance during physical activity
I’ve been known to eat apples for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks in between. Given their versatility, they can be used in sweet and savory recipes any time of the year. I have a bit of a sweet tooth though, so I’ll share one of my simple apple dessert recipes with you:
- Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes
- Yield: 12 balls
Wash and chop apple, leaving skin on. Put apple in medium sized bowl and add cinnamon. Mix until apple pieces are evenly coated.
Mix peanut butter and honey in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds, until slightly runny. Add to apples and stir until evenly coated.
Add oats to mixture, ¼ cup at a time. Stir after each addition.
Roll into small balls, about the size of a tablespoon (the mixture will be sticky). Place balls on a plate or tray and transfer to the refrigerator to cool. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.