Naturopathic Kitchen: Apples

Apples are a well loved fruit–in fact, they are the most widely consumed fruit in the world. 1 You have probably heard the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but you might not know exactly what the health benefits of apples are. 

Here are some health-conscious reasons to enjoy more apples in your diet. They are in season in the fall, so there is no better time to go apple picking or stop by your local farmers’ market for fresh, organic apples.

Gut Health

Microbiota are good bacteria located in your gut that positively impact health in a number of ways, including improving immunity, digestion, and brain function. 2 3 Apples contain pectin, a type of dietary fiber that feeds microbiota and strengthens the gut microbiome. 4 To get the most dietary fiber from apples, eat them raw with the skin still on.

Weight Management

Apples can help you feel full for longer, particularly when eaten whole. One study found that eating whole apples left participants feeling full for up to four hours longer than those who consumed equivalent amounts of apple purée or juice.  5 The increased feeling of fullness associated with apples can help to manage your appetite and facilitate weight loss. 6 The polyphenols in apples may also contribute to weight loss. 7 

Lower Diabetes Risk

Increasing apple consumption may help to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, one study found that the increased consumption of apples and pears (both polyphenol-containing fruits) resulted in an 18% decrease in diabetes risk. 8 Apples are a good source of the polyphenols quercetin and phloridzin. Phloridzin helps to reduce blood sugar uptake in the intestines and quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce insulin resistance, both of which may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. 9 10 

Baked Apples with Date Pecan Filling and Rhubarb Ginger Drizzle

Who says dessert can’t be healthy? This one certainly is. In fact, it’s so healthy that it was served in the Bastyr Dining Commons. 

Recipe courtesy of Bastyr University.

Ingredients

  • 1⁄4 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup pitted dates
  • 1  orange zest, and juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 4 organic baking apples (such as Fuji, Granny Smith, or Gala)
  • 8 tsp butter
  • 12 oz dry rhubarb soda or apple juice
  • 6 oz water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground cloves

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine pecans, dates, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

Core the apples and cut in half. Stuff each apple half with 1 tablespoon of filling. Dot each apple half with 1 teaspoon of butter.

Place the apples in a baking pan, and pour the rhubarb soda or apple juice into the pan. Pour in the water until the apples rest in about 1 inch of water.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Place the baked apples aside and strain the liquid into a pan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, cloves, and brown sugar to the pan. Maintain a boil and constantly stir. The drizzle is done when it can coat the back of a spoon. Spoon it over your baked apples and serve.

 

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